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Nee Mary Jones Polk, Tennessee. 






By Mary Polk Branch 


Publishers, Chicago 

Copyright, 1912, 


Joseph G. Branch. 


THIS little book is written for my children 
and the descendants of those whose lives are 
herein chronicled. 

From its perusal may they learn still more 
to reverence the memory of their forefathers, 
and to prize the heritage left by them of noble 
and honorable lives. 

To this record I have added my memories of 
the home of my youth, under Southern skies. 
Then later the experiences of a Southern woman 
during the Civil War, ' ' within the lines. ' ' 

This long retrospect of mine, a retrospect of 
eighty years, portrays faithfully life in the South 
as it was in ante-bellum times, and afterward 
in her mourning vestments, the beautiful, heroic 

I write with a loving hand as I pay this trib- 
ute to the past. 

Mary Polk Branch. 

December, 1911. 





My father, Dr. Win. Julius Polk, was married 
to my mother, Mary Rebecca Long, at Mt. Gal- 
lant, Halifax County, North Carolina, in 1814. 

Mt. Gallant was an estate, inherited by my 
mother, from her grandfather, Gen. Allen Jones. 
In 1828 they moved from North Carolina to 
Columbia, Tennessee, where five brothers had 
already preceded my father — making their 
homes on plantations near the town. My father 
was a devoted member of the Episcopal church, 
and noted for the purity and integrity of his 
character — his word being considered ' ' as good 
as his bond." 

He was elected again and again president of 
the First Bank, in Columbia, and for years trus- 
tee of the old St. Peter's church. 

My mother was an able assistant in all good 
works, and the blameless lives of this old couple 
were marked by deeds of neighborly kindness, 
charity and hospitality, for which the South was 
so noted in ante-bellum days. 

Their nearest neighbor was Bishop Otey, who 
lived on an adjoining place, called Ravencroft, 
and as both he and my father had a keen sense 
of humor, many a good joke had they at the 
expense of the other. 

My mother and the bishop, both fine chess 
players, usually ended the evening with a hotly 
contested game of chess — the victor triumphant 
and the vanquished insisting that the battle 
should be renewed at a later day. 

My mother was a woman of beauty and unus- 
ual courage. She needed it as she said farewell 
to her three soldier sons, and bade them do their 
duty. But she had higher attributes than cour- 
age — the charity which thinketh no evil, the 
love which includes the sinning and the sinless, 
recognizing the stumbling blocks that beset our 
path. All beautiful things appealed to her. flow- 
ers and poetry. She often recited verses that she 
had learned in her youth. She seemed to me to 
be a link connecting us to a far-off period, bind- 
ing the present to the past. The rare courtesy 
of her manner, which told of her gentle breeding, 
combined with a slight formality, which, while 
very kindly, precluded any familiarity. As I 
have looked at her lovely old face I have thought 
her the embodiment of all the virtues of her race. 
In her ninetieth year she joined the great cara- 
van, and now, with the husband of her youth, 
as much of her as could die awaits the resurrec- 
tion, at St. John's cemetery. 

My father first rented the house owned by his 
cousin, then Governor of Tennessee, James K. 
Polk, afterwards President of the United States. 
Then he bought a home, which I owned later, at 
present the property of Mrs. Towler. At this 
house, at the dinner table, was first proposed the 
building of the Columbia Female Institute. Pres- 
ent upon this occasion was Bishop Otey and my 

uncle, Leonidas Polk, who was afterwards bishop 
of Louisiana. The building was partly finished 
in 1836, and I was carried there by my nurse to 
be entered as a scholar. 

Preparatory to the coming of the Kev. F. G. 
Smith, who was first principal, his assistant 
teacher taught the school in a room back of the 
old St. Peter's church. The church was the 
second house at the corner of Garden street next 
to the old Masonic hall. The lady whose portrait 
is at the Institute was Mrs. Shaw, of Philadel- 
phia; her daughter, a beautiful young woman, 
taught music. She was engaged to be married 
to the Rev. Mr. Odenheimer, then pastor of St. 
Peter's church on Second street, in Philadelphia; 
afterwards he became Bishop Odenheimer, of 
New Jersey. 

An event of those early days was a reception 
on the Institute grounds to President Andrew 
Jackson. He was on his way to visit his niece, 
Mrs. Lucias Polk, at "Hamilton Place," accom- 
panied by Paulding, the novelist. I do not know 
why he should have selected Paulding as a com- 
panion, as Paulding was not a politician. On the 
important occasion two little girls were chosen 
to present bouquets to the distinguished visitors. 
Accordingly, little Kittie Puryear, and I, in our 
best white frocks, and with our hair curled, pre- 
sented them. One bouquet was given to General 
Jackson, mine to Paulding, who sent me a little 
poem in response. This was, I think, in 1840. 

Two years later my cousin, Sarah Jackson 
Polk, and I were sent to a French school in New 
York — Madame Canda's — and afterwards to a 


school in Philadelphia. This cousin, who married 
my mother's nephew, Kobin ap C. Jones, was one 
of the loveliest characters I have ever known, and 
the dearest friend of my life. We went to Nash- 
ville on our way to Philadelphia, in our carriages, 
dining at Cartright's, near Springhill; stayed 
all night at a place a mile from Franklin, and 
next morning proceeded to Nashville, a distance 
of forty miles which now takes three hours to 
travel. There we took passage on a small stern- 
wheel boat — there was no stateroom, and we 
slept in a large ladies' cabin with berths piled 
one above another. Our party was composed of 
my uncle, Lucias Polk, his daughter (my cousin 
Sarah), Miss Dorothy Dix and myself. 

Miss Dix, the noted philanthropist, had known 
my uncle in Nashville, where he occupied some 
public position, in the legislature, I think. Her 
visit to Nashville was to petition the legislature 
to build an asylum for the insane. She had vis- 
ited every State for that purpose, traveling 
alone, yet, she said, had never met with the 
slightest discourtesy. She was from Boston, 
and had been engaged to be married, and her 
lover became insane. She visited him, found 
him in a cell with a rock floor ; not a comfort ; 
treated as though he were a criminal. She then 
began the crusade to which she devoted her life, 
and through her instrumentality asylums were 
built in many cities where before the insane had 
been confined in jails. I think through her 
efforts the asylum in Nashville was founded. 
This was about 1847. 

She was charming in appearance, and her 


sweet voice had a soothing effect upon maniacs. 
She often sang to them. 

In Philadelphia we were invited to the homes 
Of many of her friends, and introduced to some 
celebrities through her kindness, among others, 
Doctor Hare, and I had the pleasure of dancing 
with Weir Mitchell at his father's house. 

After the return of my cousin and myself to 
Tennessee our lives were like most Southern girls 
Of that period. Wealthy Southerners usually 
resided on their plantations, and visited friends 
in their carriages, many miles apart, staying two 
or three days. Some of these carriages were very 
handsome, and drawn by four horses, as were 
those of my uncles, George and Andrew. 

The Old Southern Mammy. 

In the "quarters, " as the negro cabins were 
called, there was usually a band, which played at 
night for the "white folks" to dance. "Old 
Master" always led off in the "Virginia Reel." 
Negroes are always fond of music, and as they 
would play "Jim Crack Corn, I Don't Care," or 
"Run, Nigger Run," or "The Patrolers Will 
Catch You, ' ' or some other especial favorite, they 
would become wildly excited and beat the tam- 
bourines over their heads. 

Our nurses we always called "Mammy," and 
it was not considered good manners to address 
any old negro man or woman otherwise than as 
"uncle" or "aunt," adding the name whatever 
that might be — the surname was always the 
master's. We were taught to treat them with 


There was such a kindly feeling on both sides 
between the owners and their slaves — inherited 
kindly feelings. How could it be otherwise? 
Many were descendants of those who had served 
in the same family for generations — for instance, 
the nurse who nursed my children was the 
daughter of my nurse, and her grandmother had 
nursed my mother. My maid, Virginia (I can 
not recall the time when she was not my maid) 
was a very handsome young mulatto to whom I 
was especially attached. When she was married 
in her white dress and long veil flowing to her 
feet, the ceremony was performed in our back 
parlor, and Bishop Otey, the first bishop of 
Tennessee, officiated. 

How great the pride the negroes felt in the 
wealth and importance of their owners, and 
interest indeed in all of their affairs, amusingly 
so, sometimes ! I recall an old woman, coal 
black, a red bandanna handkerchief tied over her 
kinky locks, and great dignity of manner, she 
said to me: "Young missis should marry her 
cousin, Marse Tom. and keep our family likeness 
in our family." 

Our Social Life. 

Indeed, ours was a gay and free-from-care life. 
I can recall delightful summers at Old Point 
Comfort, and the Greenbrier White, in Vir- 
ginia — winters in which I journeyed from my 
father's plantation, near Helena, Arkansas, to 
New Orleans. 

There were palatial boats on the Mississippi 
river then, for there was no other way to reach 


New Orleans. At each landing', often at night, 
lighted by the pine torches on the bank, the 
roustabouts would roll aboard the heavy bales of 
cotton, singing as they crossed the gangway their 
gay negro songs, often throwing piles of wood 
into the roaring furnace as they raced with some 
other boat, which they were trying to pass, amid 
shouts of triumph, or cries of defiance for the 
rival firemen. 

At their nearest landing, planters would come 
aboard with their wives and daughters to do 
their annual shopping in the "city," and the 
big boat would plow its way down the broad 
river with gay passengers laughing, dancing, 
singing, and many a love tale, told upon the 
guards until it rounded at the dock of delightful 
New Orleans — the city of camelias, cape jas- 
mines and violets. 

But sailing down the broad Mississippi was 
not always an unalloyed pleasure, sometimes 
there were terrible experiences. 

I recall how my bright and beautiful cousin, 
Mary Brown Polk, and I started from Nashville 
on "The America," for New Orleans. 

After an evening of dancing and cards, we 
retired to our staterooms. It was quite late, 
and most of the passengers, including our 
chaperones, had already sought their berths. 

All at once there was a cry of "Fire!" and 
looking out we saw a man dashing down the 
cabin, while the carpet rose beneath his feet 
from the gusts of March wind, while he cried to 
the sleeping passengers : ' ' Fire ! ' ' 

Hand in hand, my cousin and I ran to the 


deck. Around us women were shrieking wildly, 
in every stage of undress. Men were getting 
from their trunks money and valuables, for the 
boat- seemed doomed. 

The angry river, lashed by the wind, bore 
upon its troubled surface bales of burning cot- 
ton, which burst as they were thrown into the 
water, and floated off like little boats afire, 
lighting the dark and threatening river. The 
pilot was ordered to land, threatened and im- 
plored, but he was obdurate. He kept the boat 
to the middle of the stream. He said: "The 
river has overflowed its banks from the heavy 
rains, and the boat would be burned before we 
could reach the landing." He turned the boat 
so the wind swept through the deck, carrying 
the flames far from the guards, which were cov- 
ered with wet blankets, so to the strong winds 
we owed our salvation. 

When the morning came, lovely and calm, as 
if to compensate for the terrors of the night, we 
floated on our way to New Orleans, the beautiful 
metropolis of the South. 

At Greenville, Mississippi, a large party came 
board, of young planters paying their an- 
nual visit to their commission merchants, or 
with their sisters and sweethearts, going to en- 
joy the gaieties of the city. 

Formerly all families of any prominence in 
the South knew of each other, so we soon formed 
one party, and they added much to our enjoy- 


Some Famous Beauties. 

Patti was then on her first visit to New Or- 
leans. She was very young, and accompanied 
by her sister, Amalia Patti, whose husband, 
Strakosch, played their accompaniments for 
them. I remember how she pouted at some little 
thing that did not please her. 

The most beautiful assemblage of women I 
have ever seen I then saw. There was Madame 
Yznaga ; I had known her as a schoolmate as 
Ellen Clement. Her husband was a Cuban 
planter, and she owned plantations on the Yazoo 
River, which had taken her South. Her sym- 
pathies were strongly Southern, and I heard of 
her playing the banjo and singing Dixie songs 
when abroad during the war. She was the 
mother of the Duchess of Manchester, and grand- 
mother of the young Duke, who married Miss 
Zimmerman, of Cincinnati. 

Among the beauties was Miss Sallie Ward, of 
Louisville, with the soft warm coloring and blue 
eyes which Kentuckians often inherit from their 
Virginia ancestry. 

Then the Tennesseans, a very different type, 
with clearly cut, regular features, brunettes, and 
slight, graceful forms, brilliant eyes, but not 
with the languor which characterized the Creoles. 

While admiring them, a gentleman said: "No 
one here compares with Madame Bienvenu," 
and looking where I was directed I certainly saw 
a beautiful woman. I was told she was sixty, 
but it was beyond belief, although upon her 
shapely head were piled puffs of snowy hair, 


Her large, velvety eyes had a lovely expression, 
her creamy-white skin with but little color, but 
her lips were crimson. Her neck and arms 
showed to advantage in the black velvet gown 
by contrast, and a single white camelia she wore 
as a bouquet de corsage. I admired her en- 

The next summer I went to the "Greenbrier 
White," in Virginia, with my uncle, Andrew 
Polk, his wife and daughter, then a child, 
Antoinette Polk, afterward the Baronne de 
Charette. There could not have been a more 
delightful place. Brilliant belles from all over 
the South — gay cavaliers, chivalric and cour- 
teous. I recall my saying : ' ' There is nothing 
more I wish for on earth ; I am perfectly 
happy. ' ' 


It was on the morning of November 29, 1859, 
that Col. Joseph Branch and I were married at 
"Buena Vista," my father's, afterwards my, 
home, at Columbia, Tennessee. Colonel Branch 
was finely educated, benevolent and honorable, 
and I may be excused for saying, handsome, 
though I have now no photograph of him. 

Every advantage had been given him by his 
uncle, Governor Branch, of Florida, his guardian, 
who was Secretary of the Navy under Jackson. 
First he was sent to Chapel Hill, North Carolina ; 
afterwards to Princeton, where he graduated as 
valedictorian, about 1835, in a warm contest be- 
tween a Northern and Southern champion. His 


brother Laurence was salutatorian, afterwards 
Congressman for many years from North Caro- 
lina, and in the war brigadier-general. He was 
killed at Sharpsburg. The two brothers, after 
their matriculation, went to their uncle's home, 
"Live Oak,'' in Tallahassee, and practiced law 

Colonel Branch was very successful; a mem- 
ber of the legislature at twenty-one, and presi- 
dent of a bank, when he married his first wife, 
Annie Pillow Martin, amiable and vivacious. She 
died five years after her marriage, leaving two 
sons, George Martin and Henry. 

Colonel Branch then left Florida and formed 
a partnership with his father-in-law, and their 
plantations were in the name of Martin and 
Branch. There were two plantations, seven miles 
long, in Desha and Arkansas Counties, Arkan- 
sas — the Davis and Dayton plantations. The 
Davis half-way encircled the lake, reflecting the 
white cabins and green trees of the "quarters" 
in the water. It was laid out in regular rows of 
houses with streets between, two hospitals — one 
for the men, one for the women — a nursery for 
the children, and two old women to take charge 
of them. 

In approaching the place there was first a 
cotton field of one thousand acres, level as the 
floor, and at regular intervals sheds with light- 
ning-rods attached in case of storms, and at each 
shed a cistern. A field of cotton would be one 
day white, the next day the blooms changing to 
pink, and presenting a beautiful appearance. 

Upon these plantations were four hundred 


slaves before mine came, given me by my father 
from his plantation near Helena, Arkansas. 

Upon my arrival as a bride at the plantation 
I found the house servants drawn up in a line 
on the front porch to greet me, and the house 
brilliantly illuminated. Among them was ' ' Aunt 
Beck," a dignitary of great importance, my hus- 
band's nurse and then his cook. She was a privi- 
leged character. Colonel Branch's mother had 
left the children to the care of this devoted nurse 
on her deathbed, and her affection for them 
was boundless. As Governor Branch's cook in 
Washington, where he was Secretary of the 
Navy, she had also been their consoler in many 
an escapade. 

She had no children of her own, and my hus- 
band and his brothers, orphans, she considered 
her own. They gave her her freedom when they 
were grown, but she scorned it and said she 
would never leave "Marse Joe," my husband. 
Good and faithful woman ! The bullet which 
killed her favorite broke her heart, and she lived 
but a short time afterwards. 


After arriving at the plantation, I was startled 
late one night by the great bell of the "quarter" 
tolling. I ran to the front porch, and could see 
big fires lighted on the streets in the "quarter," 
and could hear the women crying, ' ' Two children 
were lost in the cane back of the plantation. ' ' 

The wild hogs in the canebrake were danger- 
ous, and might attack and even devour the chil- 
dren. So a great fire, fed by pine knots, was 


kept blazing all the night, as a guide. The bells 
on all the plantations around took up the alarm, 
and men on horseback came dashing up to know 
what was the trouble on the Branch plantation. 

My husband and men with lighted torches 
went in search, but the children were not found 
until next morning, asleep under a cottonwood 

Every day we went out on our horses, riding 
through the canebrakes, bayous, down the turn 
rows of immense fields of cotton, to the ditches 
where Irish laborers were digging to drain the 
marshes — to the nurseries, to the hospital with 
fruit, or some delicacy for the sick. 

In the evening we entertained ourselves with 
the piano and the library ; among the books were 
many religious ones, for Colonel Branch was 
pious, and a member of the Episcopal church. 

An innocent and ideal life ! 

We varied it in a few months by going to New 
Orleans and from thence to Cuba. At Matanzas 
we had quite an experience. We got on a car 
where the men were evidently going to a cock 
fight, each with a cock under his arm. They had 
seen our names upon the passport, which had 
excited their suspicion. Laurence Branch, 
Colonel Branch's brother, had introduced a bill 
in Congress very obnoxious to the Cubans — for 
the United States to buy Cuba for some millions, 
and, suspecting this to be the Branch, our inter- 
preter, who, of course, spoke Spanish, had great 
trouble in keeping us from being mobbed by the 
angry crowd. 

The summer after my marriage, 1860, I spent 


iii the East, and until then I had no idea of the 
feeling in the North against the South. My maid 
was soon enticed away at Niagara. From thence 
we went to the Continental Hotel, in Philadel- 
phia. The hotel was filled with Southerners. A 
few evenings after our arrival a procession of a 
thousand men, bearing torches, stopped in front 
of the Continental, and were addressed from a 
platform in front of the hotel by Charles Frances 
Adams. I remember a part of his speech in 
which he said: "The North should be made a 
haven to the oppressed negro of the South, ' ' and 
his other remarks were to the same purport. 

We felt wantonly insulted, and for the first 
time I had a foreboding for the future, which 
grew stronger during our visit to the Greenbrier 
White Sulphur Springs, of Virginia, soon after. 
The ' ' White ' ' was different from what I had ever 
known it before. There was the "German" in 
the morning and the ball at night, but there was 
a tone of seriousness underneath it all. The 
young men, and the old, could be seen in groups 
discussing some point that was evidently exciting 

We felt the gathering clouds that foreboded 
the coming storm. From White Sulphur we 
returned to our home in Tennessee. Everything 
there seemed beautifully peaceful and calm. 
Tennessee's first vote against secession was sixty 
thousand, as the old Whig party, which had great 
strength in Tennessee, was opposed to it, but 
when her sister States seceded, Tennessee went 
with them, and her best blood flowed freely in the 


Tennessee was a border State and she and 
Virginia bore the brunt of the war. It is stated 
that one-fifth of the dead of both armies was on 
Tennessee soil. 


Oh, the horrors of civil war ! My mother was 
a Spartan mother, and she said to her four boys, 
"Go and do your duty." 

There was my gay and handsome brother, 
Tom, who left his wife and children ; Lucius, 
whose name I can not write without a pang; 
Cadwalader, and Rufus. 

Colonel Branch was in jail for a few days in 
Columbia, Tennessee, then exiled by General 
Negley with the penalty, if ever caught in fed- 
eral lines, to be hung as a spy, and property 

In the meantime my mother and I were alone 
at Buena Vista. There were five hundred sol- 
diers — a cavalry command — encamped about 
the place, but the officers were kind and placed 
pickets at the doors for our safety. Yet, not- 
withstanding, we had nightly alarms and the 
house often searched. I recall one occasion, as 
my mother and I were driving from Columbia, 
with many contraband articles, we were stopped 
by two pickets, who proceeded to search the car- 
riage . 

As one soldier picked up some trifling article 
of my mother's, she exclaimed, "Would you 
deprive me of that small pleasure?" The other 
soldier, at the same time, saw a pair of soldier's 
gauntlets, I intended for General Cleburne. He 


looked at me, saw the terror in my face, a vision 
before me of Irving Block, in Nashville, where 
rebel women were confined, and then turning to 
the other soldier he winked at me and said, 
' ' Come away, there is nothing there, let these 
ladies go on." 

Many letters and supplies and these same 
gauntlets we carried to Florence, Alabama, to 
soldiers there. Of course, we ran a great risk, 
but we relied upon our coachman, who was very 
loyal to us, and secreted some of the letters upon 
his person. 

A federal raid had just taken place in the 
country through which we passed, and houses, 
farms and fences burned, the fire still smoulder- 
ing where food had been cooked. It became 
dark and our coachman was blind at night, and 
the road so covered with autumn leaves we lost 
our way. I walked in front, putting aside the 
leaves, to find traces of the road, and calling out, 
"Drive to the right, drive to the left." At last 
I saw a fence and, following it up, we came to 
a substantial log house, and were barely in it 
before a cavalry company came dashing up, 
demanding if some of "Wheeler's soldiers were 
not there." Fortunately for us, our host was a 
well-known Union man, and the house was not 


The few Union men were occasionally of great 
service to their friends and relations. My 
brother-in-law, Judge Russel Houston, for 
instance, whose brother, Governor Houston, of 


Alabama, and all of his own and his wife's 
family were "secessionists," stood very high 
among the federals (as Union men of his ability 
and social prestige in the South were very rare), 
and, in consequence, there was a great deal in 
his power. 

My sister was very loyal to her husband, but 
natural feeling would assert itself. I recollect 
standing with her at a window, when a cavalry 
company of General Wheeler's, who had been 
burning bridges between Columbia and Nashville 
to prevent the approach of the enemy, came 
dashing through the town, closely pursued by a 
federal company. My sister, in her excitement, 
clasped her hands and exclaimed, "Oh, if they 
had but wings to fly ! " 

But amidst this gloom there were occasional 
flashes of sunlight. When the Confederates were 
in possession how gay it was, and the soldiers 
such toasts. 

I recall General Armstrong's wedding — -the 
officers in full uniform, and wearing the yellow 
scarf of the cavalry. The beautiful bride, a 
great-niece of President Polk's, a brunette, in 
contrast with the blonde appearance of her hand- 
some husband. 

Then the brilliant ball at Ashwood Hall, the 
gracious host and hostess, and Antoinette, their 
daughter, a young heroine of the Confederacy, 
who afterwards became the Baronne de Charette. 

She was visiting me when I saw in front of 
my house, on the Hampshire pike, Maj. Hunter 
Nicholson dashing down the pike, pursued by 
cavalry in blue coats. I knew at once that 


Columbia had been taken possession of by 
the Federals and I called to Antoinette Polk. 
She came down the steps, the gauntlets in her 
hand, and her hat with its long ostrich plume in 
the other, ran for her horse in the stable, dashed 
through the woods, to reach the Mount Pleasant 
pike, where Ashwood Hall, and the homes of her 
two uncles, each a mile apart, were situated. 
They were filled with soldiers who would be 
taken by surprise and captured, unless she 
reached them in time. 

She gained the gate, which opened upon the 
pike, and as she did so, she saw approaching her 
three Federal soldiers, fast riders thrown out to 
capture prisoners, and then commenced a won- 
derful race. The horse was a young thorough- 
bred, and seemed to realize her peril. The last 
she saw of the cavalrymen they were digging 
their spurs into their horses' sides with their 
heads almost on a level with those of their 
horses. She gained the woods and was lost to 
their sight. On reaching Ashwood she roused 
the Confederate soldiers, and was taken almost 
fainting from her horse; the horse's mouth cov- 
ered with blood and foam from its bit. The 
soldiers picked up a trophy, her long ostrich 
plume, which dropped from her hat, and return- 
ing showed it to the colonel, who said, "Why 
did you not shoot her in the back ' ' ? 

Her father was Capt. Andrew Polk, a cavalry 
officer, who returned from the Kentucky cam- 
paign a helpless invalid, went abroad with his 
family, and died at Vevey. 

This oldest daughter, of whom I have just 


Baronne de Charette. 


written, Antoinette, married the Baron de Char- 
ette, nephew of the Comte de Chambord, and 
colonel of the Pontifical Zouaves in the Garibaldi 

The marriage was celebrated in Paris, with 
great eclat. Among the splendid gifts was an 
aigrette of diamonds from the Pope, a diamond 
laurel wreath from the Zouaves, coronet from the 
Princess de Berri. The mother of General Char- 
ette's first wife, Duchess de Fitz- James, sent a 
magnificent present, and others, equally hand- 
some, were given. 

In 1884 they visited Canada, where they were 
received with great enthusiasm by the Catholics. 
The public receptions in Quebec and Montreal 
were grand ovations. 

They had but one son, Antoine, who was 
recently married to Suzanne Hennin, of Ken- 
tucky. His title (having been given an estate, 
which carried the title with it), is Marquis de 

It was just before this sortie of the Federals 
into Columbia, that I met General Van Dorn, the 
gallant cavalry commander, so handsome and 
gay. It was at a ball at Ashwood Hall given to 
the officers that I first met him. A few weeks 
later I attended his funeral. He was assassi- 
nated, and the procession passed to Rose Hill 
cemetery, from Columbia, where he was buried. 
Of course, the funeral was a military one, and I 
never shall forget the solemnity, the music, the 
blare of the trumpets, the powerful black horse 
that was led riderless, and on each side the 
inverted boots of the late gallant officer. 


We had about this time an unexpected pleas- 
ure. Adelina Patti came to our little town, 
Columbia, to visit her brother Carlo, who was 
quite sick, and on a sick leave from the regiment 
in which he had enlisted, the "Second Ten- 

I had heard Patti some years before, when 
she was very young — I think about twelve. She 
sang then at a concert in New Orleans. Stra- 
kosch, who had married her older sister, accom- 
panied them on the piano. 

On this occasion, in Columbia, a long narrow 
room called "Hamner's Hall" was prepared for 
her, as she had consented to sing. During the 
war we had no oil for our lamps, and considered 
ourselves very fortunate to have home-made 
candles. Accordingly, the footlights were an 
array of tallow candles, with tin reflectors. When 
Patti entered, and saw the primitive arrange- 
ments, the lights, the hats of an antiquated style, 
which confronted her, it was beyond her to con- 
trol her amusement ; she hid her face behind a 
huge bouquet, and shook with laughter, while 
we, the audience, sat in indignant silence. 

Soon after this, "Blind Tom" was in Nash- 
ville, and I, as secretary of the Hospital Asso- 
ciation, wrote to his manager, requesting that 
he should give a concert in Columbia. We were 
trying in every way to get funds for the hospital 
and this proved very successful. Two gentlemen 
gave us a hundred dollars apiece. 



How busy that hospital kept us ! Knitting', 
making underwear, collecting supplies, sending 
boxes to the army. My mother was instrumental 
in organizing it, and was president until the 
close of the war. We not only ministered to our 
own wounded soldiers, but to many of the Fed- 
erals, who were taken prisoners, had been 
wounded, or were sick, and .brought to the hos- 

This reminds me of an incident that occurred. 
My two beautiful gray carriage horses had been 
seized soon after we were in Federal lines, and I 
wished to regain possession of them, so I asked 
the services of the provost marshal, a Union man, 
and near neighbor of ours, to accompany me to 
headquarters, which he did. 

The officer in command asked me several ques- 
tions, and among others about the hospital. I 
replied, "My mother is president, and we give 
every care and attention not only to our own 
soldiers, but also to the sick and wounded 
'Yankees.' ' At this he sprang up indignantly 
from his chair, and said, "Madam, I have seen 
you but ten minutes, and during that time you 
have twice insulted me. I wish you to under- 
stand I am from Ohio, and the soldiers also who 
are under my command. We are not "Yankees." 
With this the interview was at an end, and there 
were no horses for me. 



On April 6, 1862, the battle of Shiloh was 
fought, gained the first day, and lost the next 

A Union man from Columbia was said to have 
brought the order from Grant to Buell to rein- 
force him. 

So at night sixty thousand men waded Duck 
river in their forced march, and changed the 
defeat of the first day into a victory the second 
day. That terrible day ! As I lay upon my sick 
bed I could hear the tramp of the mighty host, 
as they passed upon the turnpike. They 
swarmed over our house, and only the pleading 
of my mother kept them out of my sick room. 
In my delirium I would sing ' ' He has fought his 
last fight. He has won his last battle"; words 
from an old song, I think called "Sir John 
Moore's Farewell." 

In that battle it was said "every man who 
could bear arms, of the name of Polk, fought." 


My brother Lucius went into the battle as a 
first lieutenant. His regiment, the first Arkan- 
sas, was cut to pieces, the captain of the company 
made a prisoner, and left with but one officer. 
Lieutenant Polk took command and led the regi- 
ment for two days. The next day after the bat- 
tle he was elected colonel by the men unanimously 
and appointed afterwards. 

Of that heroic brother what could I not tell"? 
There was never a nobler and more magnanimous 


spirit, united to a tenderer and more merciful 
one — to write of him even in the "so long ago" 
sends a pang to my heart. 

Lucius Polk was born in Salkburtf, North Caro- 
lina, July 10, 1833, the family soon after moving 
to Tennessee. He enlisted at the commencement 
of the Civil War in Arkansas, where he owned 
a plantation, and was elected first lieutenant in 
Gen. Pat. Cleburne's company, in the regiment 
known afterwards as the "First Arkansas." 

Lieutenant Polk's first service was with the 
Arkansas troops at the capture of the arsenal 
at Little Rock, Arkansas. His first fight was at 
Shiloh, after which battle he was promoted 
colonel of the regiment. 

When the Confederate army fell back from 
Corinth, he was ordered to cover the retreat, 
"if not a man be left." He defended the bridge 
so gallantly, that he was complimented in Gen- 
eral Cleburne's report (official report). 

He was in the campaign in Kentucky, under 
Gen. Kirby Smith, and was wounded in the bat- 
tle of Richmond, and six weeks later that of 
Perryville. Colonel Polk was then appointed 
brigadier-general, in command of Cleburne's old 

He was in the two days' fight at Murfreesboro, 
Tennessee, where his uncle, General Leonidas 
Polk, was in command of one division of the 
army ; at Chattanooga, where his brigade did 
valiant service, and in all the battles in the 
retreat from Tennessee. 

His brigade brought up the rear in falling 
back from Missionary Ridge, General Cleburne 



in command of the division, entrusting him with 
the charge of the rear guard. 

In the ambuscade which he formed, by conceal- 
ing his troops on each side at Ringgold's Gap, 
and then ordering a sortie, his brigade fought 
most gallantly, capturing two of the enemy's 
flags, and he was most highly complimented in 
the official reports of Generals Johnston and 

In the fight near Hope Church, in Georgia, 
he was desperately wounded and crippled for 

In his official report of the battle of Chicka- 
maugua, Gen. Joseph Johnston said, "But for 
the valor of Gen. Lucius Polk's brigade we could 
not have carried the day." 

General Polk did not long survive the war, 
and died at his residence in Maury County. 

Of him could be said not only "the bravest of 
men, but the truest and most loyal." 

His two oldest sons, Rufus and Lucius, were 
in the Cuban and Philippine wars, and showed 
themselves worthy of their parentage. 

The first, Rufus, was twice a Congressman 
from Pennsylvania (where he had married), and 
he was prominently mentioned for lieutenant- 
governor of Pennsylvania at the time of his 
death, at the early age of thirty-four. 



My brother had but one furlough — he was 
sent home after the campaign in Kentucky. We 
did not even know he was wounded (so difficult 
was it to get any intelligence from the army), 
when one morning he came limping into our 
sitting-room, the shadow of his former self, his 
head bound with bandages, and also shot in the 
foot. You can imagine how we felt ! 

After this came the battle of Murfreesboro, 
the two days' fight on the thirtieth of Decem- 
ber and first of January, 1863. During the 
progress of the great battle which was fought 
there, my mother and I, and many others, went 
to the ' ' Knob, ' ' which overlooks Columbia, and 
with straining ears listened to the thud of the 
cannon forty miles distant. 

My mother dispatched in haste, Oscar, a faith- 
ful servant, to ride across the country to Mur- 
freesboro with bandages, liniments and supplies, 
for her sons who were in the battle. 

The Confederate Army were encamped on 
Stone river — General Hardee commanding one 
corps, and Gen. Leonidas Polk, "The Fighting 
Bishop," the other. I have a plan of the Battle 
of Murfreesboro which I prize highly. It is a 
topographic view of the ground upon which the 
two armies were posted, drawn by Captain Mor- 
ris, chief engineer of Polk's Corps, for Lieuten- 
ant-General Polk. The original was destroyed 


and. I have the duplicate, sent by Captain Morris 
to me. 

The position of the Federal troops under Rose- 
erans is given with division commanders and 
brigades, as well as that of the Confederates. 

Bragg commanding, and the two corps com- 
manders, Lieutenants-General Polk and Hardee, 
in command of the right and left wings, en- 
camped on Stone River, whose waters were 
tinged with blood after the battle. 

The cemetery near Murfreesboro is filled with 
monuments to the dead of both armies. 

Gen. Leonidas Polk's unique career came to a 
close at a later period at Pine Mountain, near the 

He was born at Raleigh, North Carolina, April, 
1806. He commenced his education at Chapel 
Hill, North Carolina. He received his appoint- 
ment as cadet to West Point in 1823 — his father 
having been an officer in the Revolutionary War, 
was very desirous that his son should also add to 
the military traditions of the family — but, 
influenced by the eloquence and devotion of' the 
chaplain at West Point, he became a member of 
the Episcopal Church and studied for the min- 

In Richmond, Virginia, he first entered upon 
his church duties, and after a year's travel 
abroad, returned and made his home in Middle 
Tennessee upon a tract given him by his father. 
In 1838 the general convention made him mis- 
sionary bishop of the Southwest, which embraced 
Arkansas, Indian Territory, Mississippi, Ala- 
bama, Louisiana and Texas. 


Bishop of Louisiana and General in the Confederate Army. 


Many amusing' anecdotes are told of him at 
this period. He had a great amount of humor, 
and must have enjoyed them immensely. 

Once, while on Red river, a planter wished his 
son baptized by an Episcopal minister, but the 
boy fought valiantly against it, unless his black 
chum, Jim, was also baptized. "Well," said the 
bishop, "Bring Jim in, and we will make a 
Christian of him, too." It seemed many small- 
pox cases were reported on the plantations, and a 
dignified circle, invited to meet the bishop, were 
discussing vaccination when in burst Jim, wildly 
excited, "Master, master, you have Marse Tom 
baptized over again — it never tuk that ar time ; 
he's out yonder cussin' the steers worse than 
ever, an he says he ain"t gwine to stop fur 
nobody. ' ' The ice melted, and the bishop turned 
and said, ' ' Commentary on the doctrine of bap- 
tismal regeneration." 

The following anecdote I have never seen in 
print : In going down the Mississippi river at 
Natchez, where the boats would stop for a short 
time, there was a lunch-room near the wharf, the 
proprietor of which was a noted character. He 
prided himself upon knowing the occupation or 
profession of any man by his appearance, and 
would greet his guests accordingly, announcing 
them as they came into the dining-room : ' ' Walk 
in, doctor," "Walk in, lawyer." 

On this occasion, as the bishop entered, he 
called out "Walk in, judge." Excuse me, said 
the host, "I should have said general." "No, 
not general? Now I I- now I must be right, walk 
in, bishop." 


"Why do you give me these titles'?" said the 

"Because," replied mine host, "I know what- 
ever profession you follow you are bound to be 
at the head of it." 

Indeed the bishop did look the born leader. 
Of majestic and very handsome appearance, a 
face full of determination, yet softened by great 
kindliness and good humor. 

At one of the conferences, after the battle of 
Belmont, and the business of the flag of truce 
had been dispatched, the party adjourned to 
a simple lunch, provided by the Confederates. 
One of the officers, the gallant Buford (of the 
Twenty -seventh Illinois), raising his glass, pro- 
posed a toast to General Washington, the 
"Father of his country." General Polk, with a 
merry twinkle of his eye, quickly added, "And 
the first Rebel." The Federal officers joined 
with excellent humor in the laughter which fol- 
lowed the sally, and drank the amended toast. 

Never did the bishop neglect his religious serv- 
ices and the morning prayers. In a meeting in 
New Orleans, on his birthday anniversary, I read 
records of his death prepared by Colonel Hop- 
kins, a member of his staff : 

"On the morning of June 14, 1864, General 
Polk received an early message from General 
Johnston, with request to meet at Pine Moun- 
tain to make a reconnoissance of the position of 
the enemy. Morning prayers having been said 
by the general, as usual, and the frugal meal of 
those forced days of abstinence been disposed of, 
the general mounted his well-known roan, 


'Jerry,' and rode alone, followed by two of 
his -staff and two men of the escort. During 
that lonely ride, contrary to his usual mien, the 
general seemed dispirited — possibly his thoughts 
were drifting to the loved flock of his far-away 
church, possibly to his plantation home, on the 
bayou, and possibly again to the fast-declining 
fortunes of the Confederacy, whose doom was 
already foreshadowed. To all appearances lost 
in thoughts of sadness, he led the way to the 
meeting place, where fate awaited him. 

"Arriving at Pine Mountain, General Polk 
found Generals Hardee, Johnston and Jackson 
(of the cavalry) on the ground. 

"The day was ideal, and the stillness of death 
was abroad, for both armies rested on their arms, 
facing each other, but ready at a moment's 
notice to rend the air with shot and shell. 

"On this exposed position the group of gen- 
erals had assembled — it was evidently a council 
of Avar ; when suddenly a puff of smoke arose 
from the distant lines, and ere it had melted in 
the air a murmuring shot passed overhead. 
Warned by the artillerymen of the danger of 
their position, the group of generals sought 
shelter. Then came the second shot, lower, and 
better aimed, when, looking back from my place 
of safety, I saw General Polk alone, on the very 
crest of the hill, with arms crossed, and looking 
intently at his front. 

"In an instant I was at his side, but, alas ! too 
late, for at that very instant a solid shot was 
tearing its murderous way, with a hissing soivid, 
through his chest, carrying his heart, and shat- 


tering both his arras. Without a groan his great 
manly form, so full of honor and of love, tot- 
tered and fell, with his feet to the foe, and his 
face upturned to the sky above. 

The general's remains were taken to Marietta, 
Georgia, from thence to Augusta, where they 
now repose in St. Paul's Church, in the crypt 
beneath the chancel. 

Shortly after this the army fell back, pursued 
by Sherman on his march to the sea. 


On December 15, 1861, I started for the plan- 
tation in Arkansas with my nurse and small 
family to see my husband. 

Nashville was in Federal lines, but I had a 
permit to go to Memphis, via Louisville. There, 
through the influence of my brother-in-law, 
Judge Russet Houston, then of Louisville, whose 
handsome home in Nashville had just been 
burned to the ground to build Fort Houston, I 
was permitted to take with me many contraband 

I had a shoe trunk rilled with sugar and medi- 
cines, and an overcoat for my husband, with to- 
bacco in the pockets to give the provost marshal 
the impression that I was carrying an old, worn 
coat. These articles were sealed by the provost 
marshal to prevent inspection. 

We embarked upon the Golden Eagle, a boat 
which on the trip before had carried negro sol- 
diers. In consequence, we were fired upon all 
the way clown the river, a flash from the bushes 
on the banks and a volley of shot. I was in the 


pilot house, and it was the object to disable the 
pilot of our boat — the shot flew thick and fast 
around us. We all fell upon the floor, and lay 
trembling until the guerillas were out of sight. 

At last we arrived at Memphis and changed 
our boat for the Commonwealth. The captain 
refused to take pay from a Southern woman, 
until I assured him I was well supplied with 

Next we stopped at Helena, where General 
Buford, of Kentucky, who was in command and 
noted for his petty tyranny, refused to let me 
proceed farther. I pleaded, and then wept, but 
soon restrained my tears when I noticed the 
expression of his face. 

I said, "I see, General, that this gives you 
pleasure, but as I hear that you are a dear lover 
of the negro race, let me go to the plantation 
and take medicine for your friends there. ' ' 

He was indignant, and replied, "Madam, my 
refusal was in kindness, as I was a West Pointer 
with your Uncle Leonidas, but now you return 
to Memphis on the first boat that lands here. ' ' 

The boat came in an hour. It had lashed to 
it, in tow, another steamboat filled with smallpox 
patients, soldiers whom they were sending to 
some hospital in the North. The odor was insuf- 
ferable, although there were heavy tarpaulins 
on that side to exclude the air. I was terrified 
(as Laurence was sick, and soon broke out with 
an eruption which proved to be measles), but 
there was no appeal. 

For seven weeks we were compelled to remain 
in Memphis at the Gayosa Hotel. 


No one was allowed to pass the lines, to go out 
oi- to come in Memphis. I did not know the rea- 
son then, but knew afterward — Hood's army 
was advancing into middle Tennesee. 

At last, on Christmas day, we were permitted 
to leave. I went with my aunt, Mrs. Andrew 
Polk, to headquarters to ask a pass to proceed 
down the river, my second attempt. 

The general was absent, but the officer. in com- 
mand very sternly refused to give it to me, say- 
ing the general had left such orders in regard to 
all applications. I thought it hopeless, and was 
preparing sadly to leave, when, all at once, there 
was such a transformation, such a desire to 
assist, such kindness ! 

My astonishment was great. My aunt was a 
beautiful and charming woman, but that had no 
influence upon the officer at first. What was the 
magic ? All at once a light broke upon me. I 
exclaimed: "I understand, you are a Mason, 
you have taken three degrees, and your father, 
Mr. Van Leer, was past grand master of the 

She laughed, but she neither affirmed nor dis- 


We arrived at Napoleon, Arkansas, which since 
has been swept away by the ever-encroaching 
river, on January 1, 1865. We were met there 
by Colonel Branch, with the carriage. Our 
meeting was joyful, yet tinged with a deep 
undercurrent of sadness, as you can realize 
everything was at that time. The battle of 


Franklin had been fought and we felt that the 
Confederacy was doomed. 

Colonel Branch had been ordered to make a 
cotton crop — to be gotten out as it best could 
be, to buy ammunition for the army. He was 
also ordered to supply the families of fifteen 
soldiers with meal. The plantation was unin- 
jured, and looked strangely peaceful, but the 
serenity was soon disturbed. 

On the third day after my arrival I was hav- 
ing a pleasant talk in my sitting-room, with an 
old gentleman, a neighbor, when the doors open- 
ing upon the front gallery were thrown simul- 
taneously open, and blue-coated soldiers swarmed 
into the room. 

One rushed to the old man, with a canteen of 
whisky. ' ' Drink, I say ! ' ' and the old man 
drank, although he did not know but that it 
might have been poison, while the others com- 
menced ransacking. 

Eealizing the absolute necessity of coolness, 
I arose, and said to the leader, apparently : "If 
you will control your men, I will supply what 
they demand, water, towels and food." 

"They are helping themselves," he said, as a 
chicken flew past, followed by half a dozen sol- 
diers in pursuit. He looked at me, and said : 
"I see that you are a woman of sense, so I will 
give you a little advice. Behave as you are 
doing now, and you will have no trouble. Here 
comes the captain now ! ' ' 

Looking out I saw advancing down the road an 
officer at the head of a hundred cavalry. He 
behaved with great politeness, and remarked that 


at the plantation above us (the Douglas), "the 
house had been set on fire three times, as the 
ladies had been so insulting to the soldiers that 
he had found difficulty in controlling them. ' ' 

They stayed two days, the men encamped 
upon the place, the officers in the house. 

One of them picked up an album, and looking 
at a photograph, said : ' ' Who is this ? " I said : 
"General Pillow, an uncle of Colonel Branch's 
first wife." 

"And this?" 

"That," I said, "is General Leonidas Polk, 
the uncle of Colonel Branch's second wife. 
This," I went on to say, as he turned another 
leaf, "is General Lucius Polk, my brother, and 
this, General Laurence Branch, killed at Sharps- 
burg. ' ' 

"What a nest of rebels!" he exclaimed, and 
closed the book in disgust. 

I left soon after to weep and wring my hands 
in the retirement of my room, and then to appear 
composed and calm before the soldiers. 

The place was left uninjured, and the captain 
allowed me to supply with money a wounded 
Confederate soldier, whom they had taken pris- 
oner on an adjoining plantation, and send him 
off in my carriage. They also left a Choctaw 
pony for my boy, which no doubt they had stolen 
from some place lower down on the river. The 
squad first thrown out were the fast-riders, to 
take prisoners, before the main body, moving 
more slowly, could come. 



But the Federal soldiers I did not fear at all, 
as I did the ' ' Jayha wkers. ' ' They were com- 
posed of roving bands from both armies, united 
for the purpose of plunder — calling themselves 
Confederates usually, but feared by friend and 
foe alike. 

Our plantation, having a great deal of cotton 
hidden under the cabins, was a special object 
of attraction, and, when frustrated, of revenge. 
One night a?i attack was expected from one 
of these bands. My room had mattresses placed 
around the walls, to protect us from the shot, 
while my husband, the provost marshal, and sev- 
eral of our neighbors, who had come in for the 
purpose of self -protection, stood behind the trees, 
ready to fire, as the Jayhawkers approached. 
However, they heard in some way of the prepara- 
tions, and made a detour. 

On another occasion, three men took Colonel 
Branch out in the cane to kill him, and only the 
interference of one, a Kentuckian, saved him. 

Once they came when I was alone, the only 
white woman in miles around, and demanded 
Colonel Branch. They asked the "time," to 
see, I think, if I had a gold watch, and while, 
on pretense of ordering them a lunch, I con- 
trived to send a message to Colonel Branch not 
to return to the house. 

On such occasions "Aunt Beck," who was a 



famous cook, and believed in the efficacy of a 
good lunch, would have one prepared in almost 
incredible time, ably assisted by the other serv- 
ants. One would prepare the fried chicken, or 
cold ham, another the crisp lettuce salad, and 
these material comforts doubtless served me 
many a good turn. 

In time of danger, how faithful these slaves 
were ! What would have become of the women 
and children of the South if they had not been ? 
No wonder the men of the South wished to raise 
a monument to immortalize the fidelity of the 
old ' ' Southern Mammy ! ' ' 

So late as last winter, nearly a half century 
since the slaves were freed, I received a letter, 
written in Chicago, from one of them. 

It was from the daughter of Grandison, our 
dining-room servant, who wrote at the request of 
her father, who was on his deathbed. He said 
that he must "say farewell to my old mistress 
before he went. ' ' He recalled to me the question 
of the Federal general to him : ' ' How does the 
ex-slave feel toward his former owner?" and 
his reply, "Nothing but death can sever the tie 
between the old master and his ex-slave." How 
many instances could I enumerate of their fidel- 
ity. To them I owe the preservation of my silver 
during the war. "Aunt Beck" and Colonel 
Branch's body-servant, Braxton, dug a hole at 
midnight on the banks of the lake. There was 
a massive breakfast service, and all the flat silver, 
spoons, forks, and the silver pitcher and waiter. 
These they enclosed in a trunk and buried in 
the sand. , 


There it remained for some years, until 
''peace" at last reigned. Then George, my hus- 
band's eldest son, was sent to Arkansas, to bring 
it up to our home in Tennessee, from which 
State it had been sent to Arkansas for preserva- 

He stopped at the Gayosa, in Memphis, for 
two days, and with a boy's carelessness left the 
door of his room open, yet no one ever thought 
of disturbing the disreputable-looking old trunk, 
tied with ropes, in which the silver had been 


The war had ended — the long agony was over, 
and again we met in our mother's home, in 
Columbia, Tennessee. 

First came Lucius, bravest of the brave, on 
crutches. Next, Cadwalader, whose horse was 
shot from under him, and he left for dead on the 
battle-field at Prairie Grove. Next, Rufus, who 
spent his seventeenth birthday in a prison on 
Johnson's Island. 

We met again, in the parlor, where, after the 
battle of Franklin, Generals Cleburne, Gran- 
berry and Stahl had been laid, before they were 
interred at St. John 's churchyard. 

A bloody handkerchief was over General Cle- 
burne's face, but one of his staff took from his 
pocket an embroidered one, and said: "Cover 
his face with this ; it was sent him from Mobile, 
and I think that he was engaged to the young 

No wonder that it is said that the jingle of 


spurs and the measured tread of a Confederate 
soldier is often heard in the hall of the old house 
at night ! 

We separated, for another battle — the battle 
for our daily bread, and with no resources, and 
the debt of five years, growing in interest, be- 
fore us ! 

The men who were in that war have not been 
long-lived, as a rule. Sickness, hardship and 
wounds impaired their vitality. They worked 
with the same doggedness of purpose, uncom- 
plaining and in silence, as did Lee, their great 
leader. But hope was gone — no longer there 
to vivify their souls. 

Then came Reconstruction days. It would 
have been very different if the negroes had been 
left to themselves, and not listened to the 
"carpet-baggers" who swarmed over the South, 
but by them they were incited to lawlessness and 

The Kuklux. 

What could be done 1 There was no law ! 
The Kuklux filled the needed want, and by thor- 
ough superstition awed the negroes into better 

I have looked out in the moonlight, and seen 
a long procession wending their way slowly on 
the turnpike, in front of my house. Not a sound 
could be heard from the muffled feet of their 
horses, as in single file they moved in speechless 
silence — a spectral array clothed in white. No 
one knew who they were, whence they came, and 
what their object, but the negroes soon knew ; 


and if there were excesses in their new-found 
liberty, crimes committed by them, they knew 
there would be a speedy retribution by these 
spectral visitants. 

They effected a great good, but as good is often 
attended with evil, lawless men, who did not 
belong to the regular organization, disguised 
themselves as Kuklux. 

For instance, on my brother Lucius' planta- 
tion, one night he was aroused by negroes from 
the quarter, calling at his window, begging him 
to get up ; that there was ' ' A company of 
Kuklux at the quarter." He went at once, and 
demanded what they wanted. They said : ' ' One 
of the negroes on the place has done a great 
deal of mischief, and we have come to whip 
him. ' ' My brother said : "I know him to be a 
good negro, and you can not whip him. " " But 
we must!" "You can not," said my brother; 
"if you do it will be over my dead body, for I 
am his natural protector." "Well, General, 
your life is too valuable to be given for this 
negro's, so, as we do not wish to kill you, we 
will go." 

Turgeneff, in his book, "The Fool's Errand," 
in writing of the Kuklux, of whom he had heard 
and seen a great deal, when stationed for some 
time in the South immediately after the war, 
writes: "When complaints were first sent to 
the Government it ignored them, and in good 
humor from having subdued the Rebellion, 
treated the matter simply as pranks of school- 
boys playing ghosts to frighten the negroes, but 
when the representations became more serious, 


it was forced to act, and orders were given to the 
governors of the different States to imprison and 
try any one who was accused of being a Ku- 

The governors complied willingly — all the 
good had been effected. The governors them- 
selves had been Kuklux, and knew that they had 
been disbanded, but bound by such solemn oaths 
that to this day I can not find who were Kuklux. 


My husband and I went to our beautiful home, 
"Buena Vista," which had been my father's. 

It was endeared to me by a thousand memories 
of childhood and girlhood. There had I been 
married, and there had my children been born. 
It was a large, old-fashioned brick house, on an 
elevation. On one side, a garden bordered with 
hedges of the microfilla rose, and its summer 
house and arbor festooned with wreaths of yel- 
low jasmine — its garden beds in the old style, 
with borders of box, trimmed square. 

In front of the house a climbing rose, twenty 
feet high, still hung from an oak, in which were 
embedded the bullets of the enemy. Upon the 
gallery had stood a Confederate soldier, a mere 
youth, who had fired from behind the pillars, 
until the boy fell dead, riddled with bullets. 

In the joy of meeting, we tried to forget the 
past — and we were happy. My husband, big 
in heart as well as stature, and the four children, 
mere babies, and the father's delight in them. 
He was of so bright and sanguine a nature, it 


was an inspiration to be with him. I leaning 
on him for love and protection ! In my checkered 
life was it not a dream of heaven ! 

I carry it with me when days are dark, and 
turn to that picture of the past. 

Two years of this ideal life passed, and a sum- 
mons came from the plantation in Arkansas, and 
he must leave. 

Colonel Branch left our home on November 
11, 1867. I wished to go with him, but the care 
of the little children and the place prevented, 
and crippled by the war, our means were not 
what they had been. 

I had a premonition of ill, as I gave him the 
farewell kiss. 

Two days after he arrived at the plantation, 
he walked the main road to examine a bridge 
over the bayou, which needed repairs. As he 
stood there, a buggy with the physician on the 
place, Doctor Pendleton, in it, Came up. Doc- 
tor Pendleton had charge of the hospitals of the 
two plantations. 

He had been drinking heavily and was seek- 
ing a quarrel, so he called to Colonel Branch, 
making an insulting remark, and drew his pistol. 

The Death of Colonel Branch. 

My husband raised his hand and cried out : 
' ' I am unarmed ' ' ; but the fatal shot was fired, 
passing completely through his body. He fell 
upon the bank, partially paralyzed, and the 
negroes, rushing from the cotton-field, bore him 
to the house. 

They filled his room, weeping, and crying 


aloud, while his old nurse knelt beside him. lie 
said: "Will no one write to my wife, and tell 
her 'farewell' for me." 

The crying of the negroes distressed him, so 
he said : ' ' Let only a few come in at a time to 
bid me farewell." This they did, and so he 
passed away. 

The negroes were wild, they declared he 
should be avenged. Many of them had been in 
his family for generations, and some in mine. 
None had left during the war ; this was two 
years afterward, and still all were there, faithful 
to the close. 

They armed themselves with guns, anything 
with which they could kill, and started to Judge 
Fletcher's plantation, where Doctor Pendleton 
had just arrived. 

The old judge had turned to him, and said : 
"If you killed Colonel Branch, get out of my 
house this moment," when an overseer from our 
place, who was a Mason, and bound to give aid 
to another Mason (and Doctor Pendleton was 
one), came dashing through a short cut to the 
house, and cried out : ' ' Go, for your life ; the 
Branch negroes are on your track, and they will 
kill you, as sure as there is a God in heaven ! ' ' 

Communication was very slow in those days, 
and a week had passed before I arrived at the 
plantation. I wished my husband to be interred 
in St. John's Cemetery, at Columbia, Tennessee. 

I traveled on the Henry Ames, the boat on 
which I had gone down the river on my bridal 
trip eight years before, and on the anniversary. 
I had only heard that he was wounded, but as 


we met each Arkansas River packet, the captain 
would call out through his speaking-trumpet : 
"How is Colonel Branch?" At last the answer 
came, "He is dead." 

Many years have passed since then, and my 
days glide serenely by, only speed more swiftly, 
as rivers hurry when they near their destination, 
the ocean's depths. 

Only one great sorrow I have had, the loss of 
my beloved grandson, Laurence Winn, a boy of 
rare promise, a gifted and charming young boy 
who died just before his eighteenth birthday. 

Nature never stands still, and we may think 
of him as still fairer grown, and brighter in his 
celestial home — and with this belief we should 
still our hearts, and say: "God knoweth best." 

I can not tear my thoughts from that past life 
and those I loved so much, and I sometimes feel 
that they are very near me, and I recall the 
words of Isaiah : ' ' Seeing what a cloud of wit- 
nesses encompass us about." 

" Seeing What a Cloud of Witnesses Encom- 
pass Us About." 

My mother, may she be near me; may her sweet eyes 

gaze in mine. 
Does she watch and pray beside me, with a mother's 

love divine? 
Can He be near, my dearest? The world seemed a 

dream of bliss, 
When, alas! so soon he left me to the bitterness of 



A witness, may be, my brother, with his wounds a 

tale to tell 
Of battle-fields where heroes fought and the conquered 

banner fell. 
Silent and grand, like sculptured knight, he waits in 

his lowly bed, 
The sound of the reveille to call the soldier from the 


One may be the gifted boy with the blue, prophetic 

Which saw, beyond his blighted life, a rainbow in the 

skies — 
The angels are around us, what may their mission 

These souls escaped from bondage, from earthly 

shackles free? 

They come on silent wing through the blue realms of 

With a glory caught from Heaven, upon each radiant 


We feel their presence near us, and a rapture, as of yore, 
Comes o'er us, as they whisper " Love is love forever 

God's messengers, sent to us in the silent hour of 

In whispers and in dreams — it may be in visions rare — 
They soothe us with the thought of that blessed land of 

Where tears shall never flow and all life 's troubles 


The spirits are about us, but, alas, we cannot see, 
For our vision's dim and blinded to Heaven's great 

But with dying eyes we '11 see them, as we leave this 

world of sin. 
They'll ope' the gates of Paradise that we may enter in. 


A Genealogical Record. 

1. General Thomas Polk married Susan Spratt. 
Said Thomas Polk was the son of William Polk, 
and his wife Priscilla Roberts, who was the son of 
John Polk, and his wife Joanna Knox, who was 
the son of Robert Polk, the emigrant, and his wife 
Magdalena Tasker, of Moening Hill, Ireland, 

1732. Born in Carlisle, Pa. 

1735-1793. Resided in Colony of North Carolina. 
1769-1771. Member of Provincial Assembly of 
North Carolina. 

1775. Colonel of Militia. 

1775. Colonel of Second Battalion of Minute Men. 

1775, May 20. Called the meeting in Mechlenberg 
County, and was a signer of the Mechlenberg Declara- 
tion of Independence. 

1776. Colonel of the Fourth regiment of North 
Carolina troops; was at the battle of Brand ywine, but 
not at battle of Germantown, being at that time in 
command of the escort of North Carolina troops (200) 
detailed to convey the Liberty Bell and guard to a 
place of safety at Bethlehem, Pa., the heavy baggage 
of the army, among which was the Liberty Bell. There 
were several hundred wagons. (From the official 
diaries of the Moravian church, Bethlehem, Pa., Sep- 
tember 24, 1777.) 

Charles S. Keyser in his pamphlet, "Liberty Bell." 

Wheeler 's History of North Carolina. 

Life of Bishop Polk, pp. 65 and 68. 

Jones' "Defense of North Carolina." 

Huffman's "Register of Officers in Colonial Army," 
p. 36. 

Trustee of Liberty Hall College. (History of North 
Carolina, Continental Line, H. H. Bellas.) 

Wheeler's "Reminiscences of Eminent Carolinians," 
pp. 200-256. 


History of North Hampton County, Pennsylvania, 
1752-1877, Captain F. Ellis, historian. 

Commissary General under Gates. ("Life of Leoni- 
das Polk.") 

2. William Polk, son of Thomas Polk, and 
Susan Spratt. First wife Grizelda Gilchrist. 
Second wife Sarah Hawkins. 

1758, July 9. Born in Mechlenberg County, North 

1834, January 14. Died in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

1775, April 17. Second Lieutenant in a company 
commanded by Colonel Ezekiel Polk. 

1775, December 22. Severely wounded at Canebrake, 
when only 16 years old. This was his only Colonial 

1776, November 26. Appointed major of the Ninth 
continental battalion. From absence of the lieutenant- 
colonel of this regiment, the command of it devolved 
upon the major, and he marched with it to Georgetown, 
and thence to Trenton, where he joined the Grand 
Army under Washington, and was in the battles of 
Germantown (where he was wounded), Brandywine 
and Valley Forge, where he was shot in the shoulder, 
and at Germantown in the mouth. Here he became 
known as the young officer "who caught British bullets 
in his teeth." 

1812. He was appointed General in the United 
States Army in 1812, but declined on account .of in- 
firmities. Was nominated by Washington, and con- 
firmed by United States Senate, as Supervisor of 
Internal Revenue for North Carolina, which office he 
held for seventeen years. 

1824. He was one of the Commissioners to receive 
Lafayette. Member of the Order of Cincinnati. 

Genealogy of the Jones Family. 

Robin Jones married Sarah Cobb. Grandson of 
Eobin Jones the emigrant. (From the Bible of 


Isaac Cobb. "His Book.") Robin Jones was 
born prior to 1700 in Sussex County, Va. 

1750-1756. Lived in Northampton County, North 

1754-1755. Member of Colonial Assembly. 

1761, March 20. Appointed Attorney General by 
order King and Council, an office he held until his 
death. Agent of Lord Granville, who was one of the 
Lord Proprietors. 

1766. Died. 

Appleton 's Encyclopedia. 

Governor Debb's Dispatches. 

Wheeler's Eeminiscences, pp. 195-197. 

Polls Office of Colonial Records. London. 

Register of Albemarle and Sussex Counties, p. 1. 

General Allen Jones, his wife, Rebecca Edwards. 
Son of Eobin Jones and Sarah Cobb. 

1739. Porn in Halifax County, North Carolina. 

Died on his estate, Mt. Gallant, Roanoke River, 
North Carolina. 

1774-1768. Member of Provincial Congress. 
v 1775. Delegate to Newbern Convention. 

1775. Member of Committee of Safety for Halifax 

1776, April 23. Appointed one of the five Rrigadier- 
Generals from North Carolina. 

1779-1780. Member of Continental Congress that 
met in Philadelphia. 

1776, April 4. Represented Northampton County in 
the Legislature. 

1779. Member of Congress. 

1784-1787. State Senator. 

Wheeler's Reminiscences, pp. 196-204. 

Appleton 's Piographical Encyclopedia, p. 482. 

Jones' Defense of North Carolina, pp. 203-256-257. 

Wheeler's History, Vol. T, pp. 65-68; Vol. 2, p. 206. 


Genealogy of the Long Family. 

Rebecca Jones, only daughter of General Allen 
Jones, married Lunsford Long-, son of Colonel 
Nicholas Long. 

1761. Colonel Nicholas Long married Mary McKinnie. 

1798. Died. Both buried at his estate, " Quanky, " 
North Carolina. 

1774-1775. Member of Committee of Safety, and in 
Provincial Congress. 

1776. Appointed by Provincial Congress Colonel 
of Minute Men. Afterwards Commissary General for 
the province of North Carolina. 

1776. Deputy Quartermaster General, with rank of 
Colonel in the Continental Army. 

Jones' Defense of North Carolina. 

Huttman 's Register of Officers of Colonial Army. 

Appleton 's Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 

Register of Officers of Continental Army. H. H. 

Barnaby McKinnie. 

Barnaby McKinnie, father of Mrs. Nicholas 
Long, nee Mary McKinnie, a noted woman of her 
day. ("Women of the Revolution/' Mrs. Ellet.) 

1688. Born. 

1759. Died. 

1734-1735. Member of the Colonial Assembly of 
North Carolina. 

1746-1758. Justice of County Court. Appointed by 
Governor Johnstone. 

Fourth sheriff of Warren County. 

Patience McKinnie, daughter of Barnaby McKinnie, 
married Joseph Lane, son of governor of the first col- 
ony of North Carolina. Their daughter married Allen 
Gilchrist, descended from Martha Jones, who was a 
daughter of Robin Jones. 

North C/rrotififr. 



Edwards Line. 

Colonel Nathaniel Edwards married Jane 

1713. John Edwards, father of Nathaniel, died in 
Brunswick County. 

1709. Colonel Nathaniel Edwards, born in Bruns- 
wick County. 

1770-1771. Member of Virginia House of Burgesses 
until his death in 1771. 

1771. He vacated his seat by accepting the office 
of Secretary of State (deputy) for State of Virginia. 

Eecords of Brunswick County. W. G. Stanard, of 
Eichmond, Virginia. 

William Eaton. 

William Eaton (father of Jane Eaton Edwards) 
married Mary Rives, of Albemarle County, Vir- 

Born in Essex County, England, and emigrated 
to Virginia. His estate in England was "Eaton 
Green." Owned an immense property. 

1754. Colonel Granville County Militia. 

1757. Member of North Carolina Colonial Assembly. 

1757. Died. 

See Colonial Eecords, p. 162. 

Record Through Which I Became a Colonial Dame. 

1. General Thomas Polk, my great grandfather 
through my father. 

2. Colonel William. Polk, my grandfather. 

3. Eobin Jones, my great-great-grandfather. Founder 
of the family in America. Descent on both sides from 
him, making my father and mother cousins. 

4. General Allen Jones, son of Eobin Jones, my 
great-grandfather on my mother's side. 


5. Colonel Nicholas Long, my great-grandfather 
through my mother's father, who was Lunsford Long. 

6. Sir Barnaby McKinnie, father of Mrs. Nicholas 

7. Colonel Nathaniel Edwards, father of Mrs. Allen 

8. William Eaton, father of Mrs. Nathaniel Ed- 

Branch Line. 

The first Branch of whom we know was Peter 
Branch, of Kent, England, who came over in the 
Castle, 1638, but died on the voyage. His will, 
made in favor of his ten-year-old son, John, is the 
first one recorded in Boston. 

John married Mary Speed, and they became the 
proprietors of "Branch Island," ten miles north 
of Plymouth Rock. 

Peter, son of John and Mary Branch, married 
Hannah, daughter of Thomas Lincoln, "the 
Miller," who was an ancestor of Abraham Lincoln. 

Colonel John Branch, a soldier of the Revolu- 
tion. He married Rebecca Bradford, a daughter 
of John and Patience Bradford. 

1775. He was a "Terror to Tories" and a distin- 
guished soldier. 

1775. Sheriff of Halifax County, North Carolina. 

1781-1782 and 1787-1788. In the Senate. 

1806, March 14. Died at Elkmark, N. C. 

The Branch family responded to every call to 
arms and the defense of liberty. Among those 
who served from Connecticut for the relief of 
Boston in the "Lexington Alarm" was Sergeant 
Thomas Branch and Rufus Branch. When the 
signal came, announcing the approach of the 
British on Bennington, he dropped his sickle in 


the field, mounted his horse and rode away to 
join Stark's forces. Many are the stories told 
of the bravery and wit of Rufus' wife. At the 
time of the battle of Bennington, several women 
gathered at her home, intending if the British 
were victorious to flee to the hills. Fear and 
consternation reigned. However, Mrs. Branch 
sat carding flax, declaring that she would not 
stir until she could see the color of the British 
eyes. During her husband's absence, with her 
daughters' help, she gathered wood for winter 
use, she harvested the wheat and butchered the 

The descendants of John Branch, the Revolu- 
tionary soldier, were as follows : 

John, Governor of North Carolina and Secretary of 
the Navy under President Jackson. 

Patsy married Whittier. 

Patience married Southall. 

Joseph married Susan O 'Bryan. 

Issue of Joseph Branch and Susan O 'Bryan were 
Joseph, Henry, Susan, Lawrence, and James. 

Joseph married, first, Annie Martin; second, Mary 
Jones Polk, of Tennessee. 

Descendants, George, Martin, and Henry. 

Second marriage to Mary Jones Polk. Issue, Mary 
Polk, married Dr. Winn. 

Their descendants were Laurence Branch Winn and 
Mary Polk. 

Laurence 'Bryan. 

Lucia married J. W. Howards. Their descendants 
are Gerald and Laurence Branch. 

Joseph Gerald. 

Joseph Branch was a member of the Legislature of 
Florida at twenty-one, a successful lawyer and planter 
in Desha County, Arkansas, where he amassed a very 
large fortune. He was assassinated on his plantation, 
November 22, 1867. 


Gerald Toole. 

1737. Laurence Toole married Sabre Irvine. 

1750. Sabre Toole, his wife, died. 

Their descendants were Mary, Elizabeth, Nancy, 
Laurence, Henry Irvine, Sabre, Jean, and Geraldus. 

1757. Elizabeth married Geraldus 'Bryan. 

1764. Geraldus O 'Bryan died. 

Sabre married Body. 

Descendants of Geraldus and Elizabeth O 'Bryan: 
Dennis and Laurence. 

1761. Laurence was born. 

1786. Married Elizabeth Simpson. 

1812. Laurence O 'Bryan died. 

Descendants of Laurence and Elizabeth Simpson 
were : 

Laurence Dennis, who married Barsha Gordon. 

Susan married Joseph Branch. 

1825. Susan Simpson O 'Bryan died. 

Descendants of Joseph Branch and Susan O 'Bryan: 
Henry, Joseph, Susan, Laurence, and James. 

1. Joseph Branch, the second. Son of Joseph 
Branch and Susan 'Bryan. 

Married, first, Annie Pillow Martin. 
Their issue: 

George Martin and Henry Lewis Branch. 
Married, second, Mary Jones Polk. 
Their issue : 

1. Mary Polk married Dr. Chas. Ware Winn. 
Issue : Laurence Branch Winn, Mary Polk Winn. 

2. Laurence O'Bryan Branch. 

3. Lucia Eugenia, married John William Howard. 
Their issue : Gerald Branch Howard, Laurence Branch 


4. Joseph Gerald Branch, the third, Joseph Branch, 
second, was a member of Legislature of Florida at 
twenty-one, a successful lawyer and planter in Desha 
bounty, Arkansas, where he amassed a very large fortune. 
He was assassinated on his plantation November 22, 

Family Coat of Anns. 


2. Laurence 'Bryan Branch, first. Son of 
Joseph Branch and Susan 'Bryan. Member 
of Congress from North Carolina, Speaker of 
the House for many years. Brigadier-General 
in Confederate Army. Killed at battle of 

Married Nannie Blount. 

Issue: Susan, Nannie, Laurence and Josephine. 
Susan married Robert Jones. 

Issue : Laurence Branch. - * —a A 

Nannie married -£— Jones. X ^^f^f-^ (hf^? ' 

Iff, Laurence married Miss Washerton. TtctJ^*-^^ t^J'Cj 
UUfQ'ffotiGNttg&e married Burton Craig. tf. . 

3. Susan, daughter of Joseph first and Susan g 

'Bryan. %<SuMj^tH. £♦* &****- 

Married General Robert Williams, of Florida. /%iJtjl*L. 1 

Issue : Robert, married Jennie Sutton,^iLomsia'na. Jr 

4. James, youngest son of Joseph and Susan 
'Bryan Branch. 

Married Mary Watkins. 

Issue: James, Joseph, Susan and Robert. 


In the reign of King David, of Scotland, the 
vast feudal Barony of Pollock, in Renfrewshire, 
was held by the noble territorial King Fulbert, 
the Saxon. Upon the death of this monarch in 
1153 Petreus succeeded, who assumed the sur- 
name of his vast hereditary estate of Pollock. 
According to the best authorities, the Lord Baron 
of this feudal kingdom was a man of eminent 
ability. He was the benefactor of the monastery 
Paisley. His donation was received by the 
Bishop of Glasgow prior to A. D, 1190, 


This Petreus de Pollok was a law unto him- 
self, and equal to the sovereign of the realm in 
wealth and power. He was the ancestor of a 
long line of warriors, and the forbear of knights 
who fought in the crusades. He was himself 
distinguished for deeds of prowess, and the sub- 
ject of many a minstrel lay. 

In addition to the vast Renfrewshire estates, 
Petreus de Pollok held the Barony of Rostis, in 
Aberdeenshire, during the reign of Malcolm IV., 
of Scotland. The latter lands he gave to his 
daughter, Maurick, who married Sir Norman de 
Leslie, and became ancestress of the Lords Rostis 
and Leslie. 

On the death of Petreus de Pollok the ancient 
patrimonial estate of Pollok passed to his brother, 
Robert de Pollok, who was succeeded by his son 
of the same name. 

Finally we come to a later Petreus, one of the 
persons of rank, who in the year of our Lord 
1206 gave a forced submission to Edward I., of 
England, in the bond known as the "Ragsman" 
bond. He was succeeded by his son Robert de 
Pollok, who married Agnes, daughter of Sir 
John Maxwell, Lord of Carleverok. 

Brecius de Pollok, who left a son, John de Pol- 
lok, designated in a charter by King James II., 
of Scotland (December 12, 1439), as "Nobiles 
vir Johannes de Pollok filius at hews Brecius." 
From this famous noble sprang the illustrious 
line of that ilk. His successor was Charles de 

John de Pollok had a second son, Robert de 
Pollok, who received from King James II, the 


great land grant in Veoius Scotia, in New Scot- 
land, as Ireland was then called. He became 
Sir Robert de Pollok, of Ireland, whose eldest 
son, Robert de Pollok, inherited the estates in 
old Scotland, while the younger son, Robert, 
received the newly acquired lands in Ireland, 
with the title of Sir Robert de Pollok. 

In the year 1640 Sir Robert, of Ireland, joined 
the Scotch Covenanters, whose commander-in- 
chief and Governor of Dunbarton castle was a 
relative of Sir Alexander Leslie, of the famous 
soldiers of that day. 

Sir Robert was succeeded by his son Thomas. 
Sir Robert's second son, Robert Bruce Pollok, 
married the widow of Major Porter, of the Eng- 
lish army. According to well-authenticated 
records, this lady's maiden name was Magdalen 
Tasker, of noble French descent, and heiress of 
"Moerning Hall," in Ireland. She survived her 
husband, and died about 1724. Certain it is that 
in the year 1687 Robert Pollok had patented to 
him certain estates in "Dames quarter," Somer- 
set County, Maryland, which have descended in 
the family to the present generation, and a fact 
of more than passing interest is the will of Mag- 
dalen Tasker Pollok, made when ninety years 
old, in 1776, recorded in Somerset County, in 
which she devises to her son, Joseph, ' ' My estate 
'Moerning Hall,' " in the kingdom of Ireland, 
and Barony of Ross, County of Donegal, and in 
the parish of Leford. 

Of the eight children who emigrated to Somer- 
set County, with Robert Bruce Pollok (Polk) 
and his wife Magdalen, the majority married ; 


and .their descendants have included distin- 
guished men, not only of Maryland, but all 
through the South and West. When, as in the 
case of Robert Pollok. we find a man of high 
position, with wife and children, and the records 
later disclose the fact that valuable estates were 
left behind in the mother country, imagination 
becomes active, and it is natural enough to pic- 
ture the hasty flight of Protestants who would 
be condemned to death for loyalty to a principle. 

AVith the change from Catholicism, in the year 
1689, we find the names of Robert Polk and that 
of his son appear among the list of loyal subjects 
of King William and Queen Mary. 

Robert Polk was said to be an elder in old 
Rehobeth church, claimed to be the oldest Pres- 
byterian ehurch in America. He brought with 
him from Ireland the family Bible, containing 
records of births and deaths. It was stained by 
the weather from being hidden in a tree. When 
it was read one of the family would stand on 
guard to watch for the Papists. This was after 
the "Reformation." Robert Pollok \s old home, 
"White Hall," was standing until about sixty 
years ago, when it was burned. In it still, when 
it was burned, there was a clock brought from 
Londonderry, Ireland; also an old mahogany 
case that contained fifteen square bottles. 

The First Deeds to Land. 

The first deeds of land we find recorded on 
the eastern shore of Maryland were from Lord 
Baltimore, date 1685: "To Robert Polk, Sr., 
'Polk's Folly': to John. 'Locust Hammock': to 


William, 'Polk's Defense'; to Robert, Jr., 'Bally 
Hook'; to Ephraim, 'Clemmel'; to James, 
' James Meadow.' " 

Change of Name. 

Why this change of name to Polk? 

Tradition says that, being Presbyterians, and 
having been engaged in one of the many plots 
of that sect against Charles II., they fled to 
escape persecution, leaving off the last syllable 
of the name and changing it from Pollok to Polk. 
The name of Robert's estate, "Polk's Folly," 
suggests that Robert regretted leaving the old 
country; "Polk's Defense," that William was 
still rebellious. "White Hall" descended to 
William Polk, the second son of Robert and 
Magdalen, and from him to his descendant, Col. 
James Polk, naval officer of the port of Balti- 
more, under his kinsman, President Polk. 

From this elder branch descend the children 
of Governor Lowe, who married Esther Polk, 
daughter of Col. James Polk. His daughter, 
Mary Polk, married Mr. Gorter, Belgiac Consul 
at Baltimore for many years. 

Robert Polk, a grandson, took up lands in Dor- 
chester County about 1778. His son, Col. 
William Polk, was a member of the Delaware 
Council, and possessor of large estates known as 
"Polk's Defense," which he inherited. In this 
home was born Truston Polk, Governor of Mis- 
souri, and representative of Missouri twice in 
the Senate. 

Robert Polk, fifth son of the emigrant, married 
Miss Gillette. Their son, Capt. Robert Polk, 


married Elizabeth, sister of the great artist, 
Peale (William Wilson). Their son, Charles 
Peale Polk, inherited the talent of his mother's 
family, and became a distinguished artist also. 

"The Polk family, a family of heroes for four 
generations, are of Scotch-Irish descent. They 
are of very ancient lineage, tracing their descent 
back to Fulbert A. D. 1075." — Genealogical 
History. Col. Jones, 1899. Baltimore Sun, of 
September 4, 1904. American Magazine, April, 
1896, and October, 1897. 

John Polk. 

From John Polk, the oldest son of Robert and 
Magdalen Tasker Polk, are descended the Polk 
family of North Carolina, who afterwards emi- 
grated to Tennessee. 

John married Johanna Knox (second wife). 
She died in 1777. William, only son of this mar- 
riage, moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He mar- 
ried Priscilla Roberts. They had eight children 
(and with these he emigrated to Mecklenburg, 
North Carolina, in 1750), namely: Thomas, 
Charles, Ezekiel, Susa (married Alex. Brevard, 
Governor North Carolina), Margaret (married 
A. McRae) . 

Charles, the second son, was a soldier of the 
Revolution, member of the Assembly 1793 
(Wheeler). He was noted for his daring and 
his love of a practical joke and gained the 
soubriquet of "Devil Charley." One of the 
anecdotes told of him was that while Colonel 
Thompson's regiment encamped in a church 
in North Carolina, Captain Charlie played 
"Ghost." Attired in white and rattling chains, 


he sprang up through a trap door in the pulpit 
and put the regiment to flight. 

Ezekiel Polk. 

Ezekiel, the youngest son, was a signer of the 
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and 
commanded a company in the Revolution. His 
son, Samuel, emigrated from North Carolina to 
Columbia, Tennessee, in 1796, the year before 
Maury was made into a county. He married 
Jane Knox, whose family also had been Cove- 
nanters. He was agent for his cousin, William 
Polk, for his lands in Tennessee, which were one 
hundred thousand acres. His oldest son was 
President James K. Polk, whose life is too well 
known for me to give a sketch of it here; his 
successful administration, his war with Mexico, 
the annexation of Texas, the acquisition of Cali- 
fornia, making territory as large as the thirteen 
colonial States, make his administration one of 
the most glorious recorded in our history. 

The Old Home of President Polk. 

The old home in which President Polk lived 
is still to be seen in Columbia, Tennessee. 

Samuel Polk left other descendants who have 
distinguished themselves. Col. William Polk, a 
man of great wit and humor, Consul to Italy. 
He left an only son, Tasker Polk, of North Caro- 
lina, a lawyer and journalist of decided ability. 

Other descendants of Ezekiel Polk were Gen- 
eral Neely, of Bolaivar, Tennessee; Col. Albert 
McNeil, and Edmund Polk, no one more prom- 
inent in Tennessee politics than he at the time 
of his early death. 


Taken in 1848. Nashville, Tennessee. 


Colonel Thomas Polk. 

Colonel Thomas Polk, oldest son of John, mar- 
ried Susan Spratt. 

1724. Born in Maryland. 

1735-1793. Resided in colony of North Carolina. 
1769-1771. Member of Provincial Assembly. 
1775. Colonel of militia. 

1775. Colonel of the 2d Battalion of Minute Men. 

1776. April 15, commissioned to buy powder. Trustee 
of " Liberty Hall," North Carolina. 

He was colonel of the Mecklenburg district at 
the time of the "Mecklenburg Declaration of 
Independence," of May 20, 1775, and "called 
the meeting." The resolutions, read by him on 
the courthouse steps to an assembly of people, 
were drawn up by his son-in-law, Ephraim Bre- 
vard. I shall not enter into a discussion of this 
much-mooted Mecklenburg Declaration. I can • 
not doubt the testimony, however, of these old 
God-fearing and truth-telling Presbyterians 
before the Legislature of North Carolina in 1800 
to the effect that "they were present, and that 
the Declaration of 1775, May 20, was similar to 
that later one of 1776." 

John Simmonson, in giving his testimony 
before the legislature, relates this anecdote : 

One aged man was asked — an old Scotchman — if he 
knew anything of the Mecklenburg Declaration. He re- 
plied, " Och, aye; Tarn Polk declared independence laug 
syne, lang before anybody." 

At a few days later date, namely, May 31, 1775, sev- 
eral of these same patriots, among whom was Thomas 
Polk, signed the historical and undisputed " Resolves," 
which .are on file in the Rolls Office, London. These 
"Resolves" (says Bancroft) separated Mecklenburg from 


the English empire thirteen months before the Declara- 
tion of Independence. 

" This is glory enough for the Mecklenburg Fathers 
and is a glory that can not be plucked from their brow." 
— James C. Welling. 

Colonel Polk, April 15, 1776, was in command 
of the escort of North Carolina troops (200), 
detailed to convoy and guard to a place of safety 
the heavy baggage of the army. Among the 
bells of Philadelphia which he had in charge was 
the "Liberty Bell." There were several hun- 
dred wagons. We give extracts : 

History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884: 

"August, 1777. Colonel FloAver, aided by carpenters; 
James Morrell, Francis Allison and Evans, took down 
the bells of the churches and public buildings. They 
were carried to Trenton, and thence to Bethlehem." 

History of North Hampton County, Pennsylvania, 
1752-1757.— Capt. F. Ellis, historian: 

" September 23, 1777. Seven hundred waggons, escorted 
by Colonel Polk, arrived at Bethlehem. 

" The next day the train crossed the river and passed 
through the town to the place where the stores were to 
be deposited. 

" While passing through the streets, one of the waggons 
which carried the Statehouse bell broke down and its 
load obliged to be transferred to another. Seven hundred 
waggons deposited their stores, proceeded to Trenton to 
remove a farther quantity of public property, which was 
stored there. 

" The Statehouse bell, which was in the waggon which 
broke down in Bethlehem, had been taken down and car- 
ried away for safety when the British army approached 
the city." — ■ From official diaries of the Moravian Church. 

" September 24, 1777. In the afternoon Colonels Polk 
and Thornburg arrived with seven hundred waggons con- 
taining the heavy baggage. They came directly from the 
camp and everything was unloaded to a place of safety 
and left in Bethlehem. 


" A guard of two hundred men, who were encamped 
on the banks of the Lehigh, were left behind." 

Extract from another diary: "The heavy baggage of 
the entire army arrived directly from camp, guarded by 
two hundred men under Colonel Polk, of North Carolina. 
There were seven hundred waggons in train, everything 
was unloaded and brought to a place of safety. The 
waggons were ordered to Trenton in order to fetch the 
stores from that place also to Bethlehem. Among these 
stores were the bells of Philadelphia. The waggon con- 
taining the Statehouse bell broke down in the streets of 
Bethlehem so that the bell had to be unloaded; the other 
bells were taken away." 

History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, by J. Thomas 
Scharf and Thompson Wescott. 

Wheeler's " History of North Carolina." 

Thomas S. Keyser, in his pamphlet, " Liberty Bell." 

" Life of Bishop Polk," pp. 65-68. 

" History of North Carolina Continental Line." H. H. 

Wheeler's " Reminiscences of Eminent North Caroli- 
nians," pp. 200-256. 

" History of North Hampton County, Pennsylvania," 
1752-1757, Capt. P. Ellis, historian. 

Colonel William Polk. 

1759. Oldest son of General Thomas Polk and Susan 

1824. Born January 18; died in Raleigh, North Caro- 

His first wife was Grizelda Gilchrist ; second wife, 
Sarah Hawkins. 

Issue of first marriage : 

Thomas Gilchrist, who married Mary Trotter. 

William Julias Polk, married Mary Long. 

Issue of second marriage : 

Lucias Junias, married Mary Easton; second wife, 
Anne Irwin. 

Leonidas Polk, married Prances Peveveux, 


Mary, married George Badger, Senator from North 

Rufus King, married Sarah Jackson. 
Susan Spratt, married Kenneth Raynor. 
George, married Sallie Hilliard. 
Andrew Jackson, married Rebecca Van Leer. 

Colonel William Polk. 

Owning immense tracts of land in Tennessee 
— one hundred thousand acres — he states in his 
will, which was probated in Columbia, Tennessee, 
in 18 — . This he divided among his eight chil- 
dren, the tracts being usually five thousand acres 
in extent. Upon these lands were located the 
homes of his children, when they left North 
Carolina and made their new homes in Maury 
County, Tennessee. 

Their residences were a few miles apart, upon 
the Mount Pleasant road. This was afterwards 
made a turnpike, the work done by the slaves of 
the stockholders. These were Dr. William Polk 
(my father), his brother Lucias, General and 
Jerome Pillow, Evan Young and Peter Booker. 
This pike extended from Springhill to Clifton, 
on the Tennessee river. 

"Hamilton Place," the residence of General 
Lucias Polk, was built by my grandfather, who 
sent workmen from North Carolina in wagons, 
to prepare a home for his son and his bride, who 
was to be, Mary Eastin, the niece of Mrs. An- 
drew Jackson, the wife of the President. 

The marriage took place at the "White 
House," and was very pleasing both to GeneraL 
Jackson and my grandfather, who had been life- 
long friends, 

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"Ashwood Hall" was built by Bishop Polk, 
and later sold to his youngest brother, Andrew, 
who married Rebecca Van Leer. They were the 
handsomest couple I have ever seen. He was 
the captain of a cavalry company during the 
Civil War, but, disabled and a wreck, he went 
abroad, and both he and his wife are buried in 
a foreign country. "Ashwood Hall" was, 
indeed, a stately home, situated in a grove of 
one hundred acres, dotted with sturdy oaks. 
Two large halls opened into each other, hung 
with beautiful paintings, and family portraits. 

"Rattle and Snap" was the home of George 
Polk. The grounds were won under peculiar 
circumstances. My grandfather was playing a 
game of "beans" with the Governor of North 
Carolina and some others. They played for 
"scrip," issued to them as Revolutionary sol- 
diers. My grandfather won the game, located 
the land, and named it for the game ' ' Rattle and 
Snap." It was in middle Tennessee, then called 
the Territory of Franklin. 

"West Brook" belonged to Rufus Polk, and 
was afterwards the home of my brother, General 
Lucius Polk, who married his cousin Sallie 
Moore, the only child of Rufus Polk. 

Some of these homes were very handsome, 
built in colonial style, pillars on front porticoes, 
large halls, with rooms on each side, wings for 
billiard-rooms and libraries. 

There were beautiful gardens and green- 
houses, the lawns in front were extensive, and 
dotted with oaks for which Tennessee was so 


"Buena Vista," my father's home, afterwards 
mine, no longer stands. Recognizing the beauty 
of its location and surroundings it was bought 
by the Government for an arsenal and barracks, 
afterwards converted into the "Columbia Mili- 
tary Academy." Of course, the old gray brick 
house was replaced by a very handsome com- 
mandant's home. I was glad when it was torn 
down, such a reminder of the happy past, of the 
hospitality and the kindness which had charac- 
terized it. They who had made it were gone, 
and I could not bear to look at it. 

Colonel William J. Polk. 

Left Queens College, North Carolina, when he 
was sixteen years old, and entered the army as 
lieutenant in Colonel Thompson's (called old 
"Dangerfield") regiment. He was detailed by 
Colonel Thompson with thirty men to watch 
some Tories in North Carolina. 

He was led into an ambush by his guide, one 
Solomon Deason ; Was badly wounded in the 
shoulder, from which he did not recover in a 
year. "This was the first blood shed south of 
Lexington," said Gen. Andrew Jackson, in a 
letter published in 1844, when James K. Polk 
was a candidate for the Presidency; also in an 
autobiography written by Colonel Polk for Judge 
Murphy, of North Carolina. 

General Jackson was a small boy at school 
with Colonel Polk, at Charlotte, North Carolina. 
They were life-long friends in North Carolina 
and in Tennessee. 


The marriage of Colonel Polk's son, Lueias, to 
Mary Eastin, the beautiful niece of Mrs. Jackson, 
which took place at the "White House," was 
pleasing to them both. 

Col. William Polk's record is certainly a bril- 
liant one. He entered the service at the age of 
sixteen, was appointed major of the Ninth North 
Carolina Continental Battalion when eighteen. 

At one time he followed the fortunes of Marion 
and Sumpter, and was aide to Carrol at Camden. 
At Eutaw his horse was killed under him ; at 
the same time his brother fell. At Brandywine 
he was shot through the shoulder, and at Ger- 
mantown through the mouth. 

It was referring to this that at a ball, given in 
Philadelphia to the officers, a young belle in- 
quired, when he was introduced to her: " Are 
you the young officer who, it is said, catches 
British bullets in his teeth?" 

He was appointed in the United States army 
in the war of 1812, nominated by Madison and 
confirmed by the United States Senate, but on 
account of age and infirmities, declined. This 
honor was afterwards conferred on Gen. Andrew 

He was Supervisor of the Internal Revenue of 
North Carolina, a position which he held for 
seventeen years; one of the commissioners to 
receive General Lafayette in Raleigh in 1824 ; 
was a member of the Order of Cincinnati. Will 
Polk, of Louisiana, had the diploma, which was 
burned in a fire which destroyed Mr. Polk 's resi- 
dence, but Col. Cadwalader Polk has the certifi- 
cate of membership. 



There is a tradition, I do not know if true, 
but it seems highly probable, that Colonel Polk 
suggested the name of Nashville, and Davidson 
County, having been by the side of Nash when 
he was killed, and also with Davidson, when he 
fell; and he was the first representative of 
Davidson County to the North Carolina Legisla- 

There are many relics of interest left by 
Colonel Polk ; among them the silver spoons, 
used at a breakfast which he gave to General 
Washington. There is also a mahogany table, 
with brass claws, which can seat fifty, used at 
a banquet, given in Raleigh to Lafayette. These 
are in the family of William Polk, of Louisiana, 
at his plantation, "Ashton." 

A miniature of Colonel Polk, beautifully 
painted, and set with brilliants, is owned by 
William Polk, of Tennessee. He was said to 
have been very striking in his appearance, six 
feet four inches in height, with a face full of 
dignity and command. 

The Jones Family. 

1680." Robin Jones, " The Emigrant." 

Robin Jones the second. 

Robin Jones the third. 

— From Isaac Cobb's Bible, "His Book," 1703. 
Issue : Sarah Cobb. 

1737. Robin Jones the third married Sarah Cobb. 
Issue : 

1. Allen, who married three times, 

2. Wyley, married Mary Mumford. 

3. Martha Cobb, married Dr. Thomas Gilchrist. 
Robin married second wife, Mary Eaton, with whom 

he lived unhappily. He said in his will, " What he gave 


her in lieu of dower was more than she deserved." Their 
only child, Elizabeth, married Benjamin Williams, Gov- 
ernor of North Carolina, August, 1781. 

1762. Allen married first wife, Mary Haynes. 

Issue : 

Sarah, married Hon. William Davie, United States 
Minister to France. 

Martha Cobb, married Judge John Sitgreaves. 

Mary, married General Thomas Eaton. 

September, 1768. Allen Jones married second wife, 
Rebecca Edwards. 

Issue : 

Rebecca Jones, married Lunsford Long. 

Issue of Rebecca Jones and Lunsford Long: 

Rebecca, who married Col. Cadwalader Jones. 

Mary, married Dr. William Polk. 

Mrs. Allen Jones, nee Rebecca Edwards, was remark- 
able for her great beauty, and also noted for the beauty 
of her feet and high instep. 

1776. Wyley Jones, married Mary Mumford. 

Issue : 

Ann Maria, married Joseph Little John. 

Sallie, married Governor Burton, of North Carolina. 

Patsey, married Hon. John W. Eppes, of North Caro- 

Issue of Ann Maria and Joseph Littlejohn: 

Mary, who married Lewis Williamson, of Tennessee. 

Sallie, married C. C. Cherry. 

Issue, Lewis Cherry, a banker in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Third. Martha Cobb Jones, daughter of Robin, mar- 
ried Thomas Gilchrist. 

Issue : 

Grizelda Gilchrist, married Col. William Polk. 

Allen, married Dolly Lane, granddaughter of Sir Ralph 
Lane, Colonial Governor of North Carolina. 

From this marriage the Baxters, of Nashville, are 

My father, through his mother, Grizelda Gilchrist, was 
third in descent from Robin Jones. 

My mother, through her mother, Rebecca Jones Long, 
was fourth in descent from Robin Jones. 


My father, Dr. William Polk, and my mother, 
Mary Rebecca Long, were married in 1818, at 
"Mount Gallant," Roanoke County, North Caro- 

This estate, "Mount Gallant," was left by my 
mother 's grandfather, Allen Jones, to my mother, 
his favorite grandchild. It was a grand old 
home for that period, situated on the Roanoke 
river, with two fisheries for herring, which came 
up the river from the sea. An orangery 
adjoined the house, and a long avenue bordered 
with trees led down to the public road. 

A secret chamber, which had never been sus- 
pected, was found under the dining-room floor, 
on the day of my mother's marriage — the day 
when she took possession of the house, which 
had been closed for many years. A servant, in 
scrubbing the floor, found that it sank beneath 
her, and on investigation, a trap door was found 
and a room completely furnished with bed, 
chairs and table, with candle on it. It was sup- 
posed to have been constructed as a hiding place 
during the Revolution, General Allen Jones 
being a very prominent person at that time, hav- 
ing been appointed by the Provincial Congress 
one of the five brigadier-generals from North 
Carolina. He was a man of great ability, and 
large wealth. His daughter, Rebecca Edwards 
Long, having died at the birth of my mother, 
she and her sister, Rebecca, were taken to 
"Mount Gallant," and lived with him until his 

He told her much of the early history of the 
Jones family, and a legend of the first Jones 


who came to America. He was a boatswain on a 
British vessel that came to the Colonies. On 
the return trip, when far out at sea, he leaped 
from the vessel, swam to shore, and married his 
sweetheart there, making his home afterwards 
in Suffolk County, Virginia. 

The third in descent from him was Robin 
ap Robin Jones, my great-great-grandfather. 

Robin ap Robin Jones. 

He showed in his youth remarkable talent, 
was a pupil of the Reverend Wyley, rector of the 
church in Albemarle, Sussex County, Virginia, 
from 1736-39. Reverend Wyley wished him to 
have educational advantages that he could not 
give him, and advanced the money for him to go 
to England to be educated at Eton. 

At that university he met and acquired the 
friendship of Lord Granville, one of the Lord 
proprietors, whose rule in the Colonies were over- 
thrown later. He appointed him his agent, and 
afterwards, in 1761, Robin was appointed 
"Attorney for the Crown," as appears in a 
dispatch from Governor Dobbs, in Rolls Office, 
London : 

April 20, 1761. " The Tusearoras will move this week 
from Bertie to New York. Mr. Jones, the Attorney- 
General, advanced $200 to account in bringing waggons 
and provisions, on the credit of their land." 

The colonial records of North Carolina show 
that he was a member of the Assembly 1754-55. 
Author of the bill to establish a Supreme Court, 
and appointed to prepare an address to the 
Governor on grievances. 

He was a remarkable man in many ways. 
There was a lawsuit to be tried in which he was 
deeply interested. The trial was to take place 
on the same day surgeons had decided that an 
amputation of his leg was necessary. He was 
suffering from gout and his life hung in the 
balance, but he went to the courthouse, made a 
great speech, which gained his case, the ampu- 
tation of the limb was performed two hours 
afterwards, and he died under the operation. 

The heroism of my mother, his great-grand- 
daughter, was quite equal to this. She was 
nearly ninety years old and blind ; was suf- 
fering with such pain in her eyes that it w T as 
decided one must be taken out. She refused to 
take any anesthetic, as she wished to retain con- 
sciousness in case of death. One of the surgeons 
showed great feeling, and she said to him, "Do 
not be afraid, I do not dread the pain, I am 
ready," and not a murmur or moan was heard. 

One of the interesting stories my mother told 
me was of an early experience of my grand- 
father, Allen Jones. The schools were very 
inferior in the Colonies, and his father, Robin 
Jones, wished to give him the same advantages 
that had been bestowed on him, so Allen and 
his brother, Wyley, were fitted out with the best 
the Colony could afford, and sent to England. 
They were placed at the Alma Mater of their 
father, Eton, called the "nursery of the gentle- 
men of England." Accordingly, the little boys 
were sent to Liverpool, where they were to be 
met and placed at school, under the charge of 
Lord Granville. 

When the vessel landed, and they went on 
shore, there was no one to meet them, and their 
singular appearance soon drew a crowd. They 
were attired in blue broadcloth suits, trimmed 
with brass buttons, the long trousers, coats and 
long vests almost to their knees, like very diminu- 
tive men, amused the crowd very much, and the 
frightened children were much relieved when 
Lord Granville's housekeeper arrived and put 
them in his carriage. 

I was also much interested in my mother's 
recital of the visit of John Paul Jones to her 
grandfather, which was not many years before 
her birth. 

John Paul Jones. 

He went to Virginia to administer upon the 
estate of his brother, who had died the previous 
year, 1774. Halifax was then a notable and 
very gay place. 

It so happened that the first congress of the 
then independent State of North Carolina met 
there. Paul was there and met the most prom- 
inent men among them, the Jones brothers, 
Allen and Wyley. 

They were very much pleased with his bold, 
frank, sailorlike manner, and invited him to 
visit them, Allen at his home, "Mount Gallant," 
and Wyley at the "Grove." These homes were 
noted for their hospitality, and John Paul not 
only entered with zest into the sports of the 
day, but was much impressed with the political 
discussions between the two brothers, their 
views differing entirely. 


He there met not only the great leaders of the 
day, but also their wives, some of them brilliant 
and cultured, their conversation elevating and 
instructive. He had access at their homes to the 
finest libraries, and to their halls, where hung 
pictures from England. 

He remained at the homes of these two brothers 
for two years, and had the good fortune, to meet 
there Joseph Hewes, of Edenton, who was a 
power in the politics of the time. He was a 
delegate to the First Provincial Congress, a 
signer of the Declaration of Independence, and 
was Chairman of the Committee on Naval Af- 

The Jones brothers appealed to Hewes, and 
through his instrumentality, Congress gave to 
John Paul the position of lieutenant in the navy. 
It was said that the brothers also assisted him 
with funds. Before this John Paul had changed 
his name to Jones, saying to the brothers, "He 
would make them proud of it." 

This compliment was intended for the brothers, 
but also for Mrs. Wyley Jones, of whom he was 
a special admirer. 

AVhy John Paul added Jones to his name has 
been much discussed of late. 

Mrs. A. L. Robinson, a great-granddaughter 
of Gen. Allen Jones, published not long since an 
account of Paul's friendship with Allen and 
Wyley Jones. The outline of his life is briefly 
told. John Paul, the son of. a gardener, was 
born July 6, 1747, at Arclingland, Scotland. At 
the age of twelve he went to sea. The death of 
his brother in Virginia, whose heir he was, in- 


duced him to settle in America. This was in 
1773. It was then he added to his name, and 
was thenceforth known as Paul Jones. This was 
done in compliment to one of the noted states- 
men of that day. It appears before permanently 
settling' in Virginia, moved by the restlessness 
of his old seafaring life, he wandered about the 
country, finally settling in North Carolina. 
There he became acquainted with two brothers, 
Wyley and Allen Jones. They were both lead- 
ers in their day and were much honored in their 

Allen Jones was orator, and silver-tongued. 
Wyley was the foremost man of his State. The 
home of the latter, "Grove," near Halifax, was 
not only the resort of the cultured, but the home 
of the homeless, Mrs. Wyley Jones having some- 
times twenty orphan girls under her charge. It 
was here that the young adventurer, John Paul, 
was first touched by those gentler influences, 
which changed not only his name but himself, 
from the rough and reckless mariner into the 
polished man of society, who was the companion 
of kings, and the lion and pet of Parisian salons. 
The kindness of the brothers found expression 
in the adoption of their name. The truth of this 
statement is not only attested by the descend- 
ants of Allen and Wyley Jones, but by the 
nephew and representative of Paul Jones, Mr. 
Lowden, of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1816 
this gentleman was in Washington awaiting the 
passage of a bill by Congress awarding him the 
land claim of his uncle, Paul Jones, which had 
been allowed by the executive of Virginia, Hon. 






E. W. Hubard, then a member of Congress from 
Virginia, and who had in 1844 prepared a report 
on Virginia land claims, in which the committee 
endorsed that of Paul Jones. This naturally 
attracted Mr. Lowden to him, and learning that 
Mrs. Hubard was a descendant of Wyley Jones, 
he repeated to both Mr. Hubard and Mrs. 
Hubard the cause of his uncle's change in name, 
and added that among his pictures hung a por- 
trait of Allen Jones. 

Mrs. Ellet, in her "Women of the Revolu- 
tion," says, "The tone of public opinion in 
Halifax was very much influenced by three 
women, who were rendered prominent by the 
position of their husbands, and by their own 
talents, and example. They were Mrs. Wylie 
Jones, Mrs. Allen Jones and Mrs. Nicholas Long. 
Their husbands were men of cultivated minds, 
wealth and high consideration, having great in- 
fluence in public councils. 

The importance of the principles for which 
they contended was vindicated by the conversa- 
tion and patriotic zeal of their wives rather than 
by their own efforts in striking appeals. 
Col. Nicholas Long. 

Col. Nicholas Long was commissary-general of 
all the forces raised in North Carolina, and 
superintended the preparation (in his own work- 
shop, on his own premises) of implements of war 
and clothing for the soldiers. His wife was a 
most efficient cooperator; she possessed great 
energy and firmness, with mental power of no 
common order. Her praises were the theme of 
conversation among the old officers of the army. 







She died at about ninety years of age. Her 
maiden name was McKinnie — Mary McKinnie. 

Mrs. Allen Jones was Miss Edwards, sister 
of Isaac Edwards, English secretary of Gov- 
ernor Tryon. 

She had the reputation of being the most 
accomplished woman of the day, and was 
remarkable for the elegance and taste shown in 
all of her arrangements. She left an only 
daughter, Rebecca, who married Lunsford Long. 

There is a punch-bowl in the museum at 
Washington's headquarters at Morristown, New 
Jersey, with this inscription on the card: "A 
punch-bowl owned by General Washington. It 
was given to him by Mrs. Allen Jones, of North 
Carolina. ' ' It was highly prized by him, and 
preserved in the family for four generations — 
it was cracked when hiding it from Tarleton's 

When the army of Cornwallis passed through 
Halifax to Virginia, his officers were quartered 
in the town. Colonel Tarleton was quartered at 
the "Grove." He had been wounded at Cow- 
pens, in the hand, a sabre cut from Col. William 

In speaking of Colonel Washington, Tarleton 
said: "He Avas an ignorant, illiterate fellow, 
scarcely able to write his name." "Ah, colonel," 
said Mrs. Jones, "you should know better, for 
you bear upon your person proof that he can 
make his mark." 

These incidents in regard to John Paul Jones, 
which I gathered from my mother's lips, are 
corroborated by many authorities — one, Fred 

•^- A'SL^ 



A. Olds, of Raleigh, North Carolina ; another, 
Cyrus Townsend, author of a "Life of Paul 
Jones," in a very conclusive article of July 24, 
in Munsey's Magazine. In a genealogical history, 
by Col. Cadawalader Jones, of South Carolina, I 
see the same facts given by him as I relate hav- 
ing heard from my mother. We are both 
descendants of the two grandchildren, who lived 
with Gen. Allen Jones. 

Neither Allen Jones nor his brother Wylie 
left any male descendant. Consequently, we 
have no relatives who bear the name of Jones, 
through Robin, but through the marriage of his 
great-granddaughter, Rebecca Jones Long, to 
Maj. Cadwalader Jones, they bear the name of 
Jones. Wylie had a son who died very young 
from gout in his head, which it seems he must 
have inherited from "old Robin." 

General Allen also had a son, who died at the 
early age of eight. Governor Iredell, of North 
Carolina, in a letter published in a volume — I 
think it is called "Recollections of Eminent 
North Carolinians" — writes that while on a 
visit to Gen. Allen Jones, at "Mount Gallant," 
he was seated on the porch when General Jones' 
little son, who was playing on the gallery, com- 
menced screaming, with his hand upon his head. 
He suffered very much, and died in two hours. 
I have a miniature of this boy, a beautiful thing, 
intended to be worn with a black velvet as a 
bracelet. On the gold back of the locket is this 
inscription: "Robin Jones, 1778. Died aged 
eight. Too soon did heaven assert its claim, and 
called its own away." 


This, and some other relics, which my mother 
gave me, I very much prize. One is a gown, 
worn by an ancestress during the Revolution. It 
is of heavy brocade, with pink and white roses. 
The gored skirt is as narrow as the hobble skirts 
of to-day. It is trimmed with exquisite lace, 
"Point de Venise," which hangs in tatters. 

I have also a chair cover, blue, and embroid- 
ered with the first cotton brought to North Caro- 
lina, the work of Mrs. Allen Jones. 

The portrait of Robin Jones was given to Mrs. 
Eppes, of Virginia, his granddaughter, and is 
now at the residence of Colonel Hubard, M.C., 
who married Mrs. Eppes' daughter. 

The Long Family. 

Col. Nicholas Long, founder of the Long fam- 
ily in Halifax, was in his day one of the most 
important men on the Roanoke ; he was a 
wealthy planter. His residence "Quankey, " 
near that old borough, bad more than a State 
reputation ; it was the headquarters of military 

When General Washington visited the Caro- 
linas, he and his staff stopped with Colonel Long 
for several days. Colonel Long came to North 
Carolina about 1750 from eastern Virginia. He 
had a daughter, Lucy, who married William H. 
Battle, Assistant Justice of the Supreme Court 
of North Carolina. Their son, Kemp Plummer 
Battle, was formerly president of the University 
of North Carolina. 

Col. Nicholas Long married Mary McKinnie, 


daughter of John McKinnie, in August, 1761. It 
appears from a deed, dated 1751, that John 
McKinnie had four children : Mary, Patience, 
Barnaby and Martha. 

Nicholas Long, the oldest son of Nicholas 
Long and Mary McKinnie, was a gallant soldier 
in the Revolution. ■ He and Major Hogg had the 
celebrated race after Tarleton with Colonel 
Washington. It is related of him that two Brit- 
ish cavalrymen pursued him. He wheeled and 
sought safety in flight; they opened fire and in 
the hot pursuit were separated. Observing this, 
he suddenly turned and dispatched both with 
his sabre. He married Rebecca Hill in 1778 and 
moved to Georgia. 

Mary Long married Bassett Stith, Virginia, 
1790. McKee, in his "Life of Judge Iredell," 
says, "Thomas Iredell visited Halifax in July, 
1790. A letter from him gives a characteristic 
account of the gay and opulent borough. " " The 
divine Miss Polly Long" had just been married 
to Basset Stith, a Virginia beau. The nuptials 
were celebrated by twenty-two consecutive din- 
ner parties in as many different houses ; the 
dinner being regularly succeeded by dances, and 
all terminated by a grand ball. Miss Wallace, 
an heiress, Miss Lucas, and Miss Hooper were 
the belles of the occasion. 

Lunsford Long, another son, married Rebecca, 
daughter of Gen. Allen Jones, 1794. They had 
two daughters : Rebecca, who married Col. Cad- 
walader Jones (the same name, but different 
family), and my mother, Mary, who married Dr. 
William Polk. 


"Quankey" the home of the Longs, on 
Quankey creek, was well known as a seat of 
great hospitality, and as it was a large and 
delightful home, Mrs. Long continued to reside 
in it after the death of her husband. She was 
left there alone, her children having all married 
and moved away with their families, so she was 
pleased to take charge of a young lady, pre- 
sumably a relative, a sister of Sir Peyton Skip- 
with, named Miss Richmond. This Miss Rich- 
mond afterwards married Lemuel Long. 

Mrs. Long was noted for her benevolence. She 
took for charity several of the poor young girls 
of the neighborhood to teach them to spin and 
embroider and the accomplishments of the day. 

The Haunted House. 
The story that is told, and which is well known 
by all in that section, was this : "As the old 
lady sat one night with her distaff before her, 
surrounded by her girls, they were startled by 
the fall seemingly of an immense wardrobe, 
which was in the apartment above. Mrs. Long, 
carrying a candle in her hand, and each girl 
bearing a light, proceeded up the long stairway 
to investigate — but not an article out of its 
place, and not a human being in the house but 
themselves. After this each night the same 
unaccountable noises were heard. Everything 
was done to put an end to these sounds. At one 
time it was thought it might proceed from the 
cellar, where empty wine casks had stood, and 
their iron hoops hung upon the wall. Then a 
large tree was cut down, that overhung the 
house, but all in vain. When the old lady 


breathed her last, it was said by those who sur- 
rounded her, that a long wailing cry was heard. 

After Mrs. Long's death some member of the 
family continued to reside in the house, until at 
last worn out with trying to ferret the mystery, 
it was sold and went into other hands. 

Fifty years after this occurrence I left my 
home in Tennessee to visit relatives in North 
Carolina. As I passed over the bridge at 
' ' Quankey creek, ' ' I asked the conductor to point 
out to me the old home. "I can show you the 
site," he said, "but the house was torn down 
long ago. One person after another tried to 
live in it, but left frightened, so after being left 
vacant for some years, it was torn down." 

And so ended the weird experiences of the 
haunted house. 

Mrs. Long ended her long and eventful life 
in her ninetieth year, and was buried in the 
family graveyard at "Quankey." 

Of the lovely old couple of whom I will now 
write I feel it to be a pious duty, my father and 
my mother. 

Dr. William Polk. 

Dr. William Polk, my father, married my mother, 
Mary Eebecca Long, at Mt. Gallant, North Carolina, 
about 1818. 

Afterwards moved to Buena-Vista, Tennessee, in 1834. 

Issue : 

1. Grizekla Gilchrist, married Eussel Houston, Chief 
Attorney of the Louisville & Nashville Eailroad for 
fifty years. 

2. Allan Jones, married first, Mary Clendenin; sec- 
ond, Anna Clark Fitzhugh. 

3. Thomas Gilchrist, married Lavinia Wood. 


4. Mary Jones, married Joseph Branch. 

5. Lucius Eugene, married Sallie Polk (his cousin). 

6. Cadwalader, married Carrie Lowry. 

7. Rufus Julias, married Cynthia Martin. 

1. Issue of Grizelda and Russel Houston: 
Allen, married Mattie Belle Shreve, of Louisville. 
Lucia, married George Hull, of New York (her daugh- 
ter, Grizelda, married Richard Pierson Hobson). 

Elise, married Theodore Presser, of Philadelphia. 

2. Issue of Allen and first wife, Mary Clendenin : 
Mary Polk, married Frank Hemphill, of Alabama. 
Issue of Allen and second wife, Anna Fitzhugh : 

1. Susan, married Woodie Kessee, of Helena, Arkan- 

2. Anna Lee, married Sam Pepper, of Memphis. 

3. Grizelda, married Thompson Hargreves, of Helena, 

4. Robin Jones. 

3. Thomas, married Lavinia Wood. 
Issue : 

Mary, married Willie Littlejohn. 
Caroline, married Ham Horner. 
Zell, married Joe Sterling. 

4. Mary Jones married Joseph Branch. 
Issue : 

Mary Polk, married Dr. Chas. W. Winn. 
Lawrence Branch. 
Mary Polk. 

Lawrence, St. Louis, Missouri. 

Lucia, married Mr. John William Howard, of Ten- 
Issue : 

Gerald Howard. 
Lawrence Branch. 
Joseph Gerald Branch, of Chicago, Illinois. 

5. Lucius, married Sallie Moore Polk. 
Issue : 

Rufus, Member of Congress, from Pennsylvania, mar- 
ried Isabel Greer. 

Rebecca, married Scot Harlan. 
William Julius, married Willie Glass. 


Lucius . 

James Knox. 

6. Cadwalader, married Carrie Lowry. 
Issue : 

William, married Lula Donnell. 
Annie, married Chris Agee. 
Cadwalader, married Lucile Greenfield. 
Nina, married Will Coolidge. 
Edmund, married Miss Wood. 

7. Rufus, married Cynthia Martin. 
Issue : 

Eugene, Little Rock, Arkansas. 


William Julius, married Sarah Chambers. 

Charles, married Nannie Lee. 

Four of these sons were soldiers in the Civil 
War: Thomas Gilchrist, an aide to General 
Tappan; Gen. Lucius Eugene, of whom I shall 
write later; Colonel Cadwalader, who was first 
with Jackson in Virginia, afterwards in the 
western army under General Price; promoted 
for gallantry from second lieutenant to colonel. 
At the battle of Prairie Grove he was left for 
dead on the field, taken to the Federal Hospital, 
and a month afterwards liberated in an exchange 
of prisoners. Capt. Rufus Julius, of whom Sam 
Watkins speaks in his book "Company H," as 
being "beautiful as a girl," was a prisoner on 
his eighteenth birthday at Johnson's Island. He 
was in the last skirmish of the war in Alabama. 

St. John's Church. 

Although most of these homes of the Polks 
have been burned, or passed into other hands, 
there still stands sacred to memories of the past 
St. John's Church. It was built in 1837 by the 






«yr : j 









Polk brothers, the site given by Andrew (the 
youngest), the font by their sister, the handsome 
gate at a later period by Van Leer Polk. It is 
called "the most historic church in Tennessee." 
During the Civil War it was used alternately as 
a hospital by the conflicting armies, whichever 
was in control at the time. 

The church was much mutilated by the troops 
under Buell as they passed down the pike in 
front of it to reinforce Grant at Shiloh. They 
broke the bell and the window glasses, hacked 
the organ, blowing the pipes as they marched, 
and taking the beautifully embroidered altar 
cloths as saddle-blankets. The portraits of 
Bishops Polk and Otey, which were in the vestry 
room, had been moved, fortunately, to the 
Columbia Institute for safe-keeping. 

The church from time to time has been opened 
for services since the War, but is usually closed. 
The Polk family, most of whom live in different 
States, send funds to keep it in repair. It is to 
Col. Harry Yeatman, however, that they are 
chiefly indebted for its care. He was an officer 
on Gen. Leonidas Polk's staff, and married his 
niece, Mary, a daughter of Gen. Lucius Polk, 
Sr., and lived at "Hamilton Place" for many 
years, until his tragic death two weeks ago. 

What different scenes have been enacted in 
this old church ! In earlier days brides in their 
white attire stood before its altar, and infants 
were brought to be christened at the font. There 
came a later day when soldiers fought around its 
walls, and the dead and dying were piled upon 
its floor. 


Among the dead who were buried there were 
Generals Cleburne, Stahl and Granberry, and 
at a later day, Gen. Lucius Eugene Polk, who 
never recovered from the wounds he received 
during the war. Generations of those who died 
earlier are buried there — representatives of the 
old-time South. The ideal Southern gentleman, 
with his courtesy and chivalry, the gracious 
gray-haired matron, their surroundings as well 
as their heredity developed their characteristics 
of loyalty, truthfulness, courtesy and courage. 

Other graves are there which also tell a story 
of the past. It is of another race who were born 
slaves. Between them and their owners was an 
inherited bond of affection — responsibility on 
the one hand, and on the other of service and 

Mammy Sue. 

I recall among these graves a monument 
which bears this inscription : ' ' Sacred to the 
memory of Mammy Sue, the faithful nurse of 
George and Sallie Polk's eight children." 

In the morning the services in the church were 
for the masters, in the afternoon their daughters 
taught the children of the other race, and all 
knelt together in prayer. 

In the cemetery are two white monuments 
exactly alike. My father, on his deathbed, believ- 
ing the separation from his beloved wife to be 
very brief, ordered them, but my mother's was 
not put in place until her death twenty years 

This church of many memories stands in a 


cemetery of seven or eight acres, surrounded by 
a stone wall. 

The large oak trees and the carpet of blue 
grass make it a lovely spot, but the doors of the 
church are closed, the windows unopened, the 
iron gate in front locked. Sometimes a long pro- 
cession winds through it, as the body of one who 
has passed away in some far-off State is borne, 
to be laid to rest beside his forefathers. 

But in the distance is heard the sound of the 
automobile and the roll of heavy wagons upon 
the pike, and we realize the brightness of the 
world without and the busy life which surrounds 
the old church with its story of the past.